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Full text of "Curious questions in history, literature, art, and social life : designed as a manual of general information"

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Vol- 1 



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Digitized by the Internet Arciiive 

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Boston Public Library 



http://www.archive.org/details/curiousquestions01 




OF WHAT DOORS DID MICHAEL ANGELO SAY: "THEY ARE WORTHY TO BE 
THE GATES OF PARADISE?" 
Cu^io IS Questions, Vol. T., page no. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS 



HISTORY, LITERATURE, ART, AND SOCIAL LIFE 



C 

DESIGNED AS 



/// 



^ IHatnial ot General Information* 



BY 

S. H. KILLIKELLY. 



VOL I. 



PHILADELPHIA: 

KEYSTONE PUBLISHING CO. 

1890. 



f.uiiri. 



Copyright, 1886, 
By S. H. KILLIKELLY. 






(^ 



TO HER 

WHO IS THE JOY OF MY LIFE, 

Ml iflotijer. 

THIS VOLUME IS LOVINGLY 
INSCRIBED. 



PREFACE. 



The title of this book has been chosen in accord- 
ance with Webster's definition of the term curious; 
viz., " eager for knowledge," "given to research," "ex- 
citing attention or inquiry." 

" It is a pity a gentleman so very curious after things 
that were elegant and beautiful should not have been 
as curious as to their origin, their uses, and their nat- 
ural history." — Woodward. 

"Wednesday Afternoons with my Literature Class," 
would perhaps have been a better title, and one requir- 
ing no preface ; but since these questi^ons have formed 
the most interesting feature of our class, and are the 
only part of the course here represented, we call our 
book " Curious Questions." I say " our book ; " for in 
association, at least, it is the joint property of many 
successive classes of young friends, who, having laid 
aside the text-books of school, were ready and eager to 
enter the broader fields of polite literature. 

It has been my part only to lead the way. They 
have been apt gleaners, and this is a portion of what 
we have gathered. 



VI PREFACE. 

We trust that owners of property in these boundless 
fields will not hold us guilty of trespass, if, in our 
eagerness after the things sought, we have overstepped 
forbidden ground. 

We claim nothing original ; and it was not my inten- 
tion, until within the past year, to put this result of our 
labor in print. I do so now with the hope that it may 
inspire the formation of similar classes, and incite the 
young to more careful reading and deeper research, as 
the best means of obtaining general information. 

It gives me great pleasure to append a note of favor- 
able comment from Henry Coppee, LL.D., ex-presi- 
dent, and now Professor of English Literature, Lehigh 
University, 

SARAH H. KILLIKELLY. 



At the request of Miss Killikelly, I have reviewed 
these questions and notes, and desire to express my 
pleasure and satisfaction at the able manner in which 
she has accomplished her task. She explains with 
clearness many things in history, literature and art, of 
which the young pupil is ignorant, and which it costs 
pains and study to find out. She makes each question 
a nucleus around which to gather much valuable infor- 
mation. 

I heartily recommend the volume to teachers for use 
in classes, and also as a basis for supplementary lec- 
tures, and the solution of similar problems. 

HENRY COPPEE. 
The Lehigh University. 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES. 



The following authorities have been used in compil- 
ing this book, and may be consulted by those wishing 
fuller information : " The Reader's Handbook," and 
" Dictionary of Phrase and Fable," Dr. Brewer; "Hand- 
book of Universal Literature," Botta ; the works of 
Augustus J. C. Hare ; " Manual of Mythology," Mur- 
ray ; " Book of Days," Chambers ; " History of Art," 
Liibke ; "History of Ancient Art," Winckelmann ; 
"Life of Michael Angelo," Grimm; "The World's 
Worship in Stone," " Life of H. W. Longfellow," Un- 
derwood ; " The Queen of the Adriatic," Adams ; 
"Poets and Poetry of Europe," Longfellow; Charlotte 
Yonge's Histories ; " Decline and Fall of the Roman 
Empire," Gibbon ; " Literature of the South of Europe," 
Sismondi ; " The Young Folks' Encyclopaedia," Cham- 
plin ; " Mummies and Moslems," Warner ; " Ten Great 
Religions," Clarke ; " Choice Literature," Spofford ; 
English and American Encyclopaedias, and numerous 
works of history and travel. 



TABLE OF QUESTIONS. 



TO THE READER. 



As the articles in this book are not essays, but merely answers to 
questions, it is very desirable that the following direction be observed : — 

Before reading any article, turn to this Table, and read carefully the 
question that corresponds in number with the article. 



1. What queen was crowned, with all due ceremony, 

after her death .'' Page i. 

2. Who was the real prisoner of Chillon ? Page 3. 

3. What picture is called the "first picture of the 

world " .'* Page 6. 

4. Why do members of the English Parliament sit with 

their hats on .-* and why does the Lord Chancellor 
of England sit upon a woolsack ? Page 7. 

5. In what war were half a million of women engaged 

as soldiers .'' Page 7. 

6. Who are the "three friends" mentioned in Whittier's 

" Tent on the Beach " ? Page 9. 

7. In honor of what painting did a king rise, and, re- 

moving his throne-chair, exclaim, " Make room for 
the immortal Raphael " .-• Page 14. 

8. What gave rise to the custom of casting a shoe after 

a bride .-• Page 15. 



X CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

9. Of what nation is it recorded that they went into 
battle with wooden swords, that they might not 
kill their enemies ? Page 16. 

10. What ancient document, discovered in 18 10, if 

authentic, is the most important legal document 
in the world ? Page 1 7. 

11. Who found Pliny's doves? Page 18. 

12. What is amber, and where is it found ? Page 19. 

13. What queen was compelled to drink out of a cup 

made from her father's skull ? Page 20. 

14. What poet wrote as his own epitaph, " Here lies 

one whose name was writ in water" ? Page 21. 

15. What is the Lion of Lucerne? Page 21, 

16. Did Tom Thumb kill Haydon ? Page 23, 

17. Who was the Great Mogul ? Page 24. 

18. Why was the " Passion Play " at Oberammergau made 

an exception when miracle-plays were suppressed? 
and what were the miracle-plays? Page 25. 

19. What reason have we for supposing that any true 

likeness of Christ exists ? Page 26. 

20. How is the annual inundation of the Nile accounted 

for ? Page 28. 

21. What noted warrior led his troops into battle after 

his death ? Page 30. 

22. Who was the original " Rebecca," in Sir Walter 

Scott's " Ivanhoe " ? Page 34. 

23. What is the Bayeux Tapestry? Page 35. 

24. Who said, "Trifles make perfection, and perfection 

is no trifle " ? Page 37. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. XI 

25. What was the last battle fought upon the soil of 

Great Britain ? Page 37, 

26. What does Tennyson refer to in " Enid," when he 

says, " Were she the prize of bodily force, him- 
self beyond the rest pushing could move the 
chair of Idris " ? Page 38. 

27. What is the legend connected with the Strasbourg 

clock ? Page 38. 

28. Who invented " Greek fire " ? Page 40. 

29. What man of note was carried about and exhibited 

in an iron cage ? Page 41. 

30. What is the " Eikon Basilike " ? Page 42. 

31. What is the story of the famous picture called 

" The Rope of Ocnus " ? Page 44. 

32. What is the origin of lifting the hat ? Page 44. 

33. Who was the last of the Incas ? Page 45. 

34. Who was the veiled prophet of Khorassan ? Page 47. 

35. What are the six famous diamonds of the world ? 

Page 48. 

36. What is meant by a "Roland for an Oliver"? 

Page 51. 

37. Who were the Buccaneers ? Page 53. 

38. What is the mystery about the "Letters of Ju- 

nius" ? Page 55. 

39. What is the Mona Lisa? Page 56. 

40. What is the origin of a " feather in his cap " ? 

Page 57. 

41. Who was the only Englishman that ever became a 

pope ? Page 57. 



xii CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

42. What is the legend connected with the tomb of the 

Emperor Frederick Barbarossa ? Page 58. 

43. What and where is the Golden Temple of Umrit- 

seer? Page 59. 

44. What instance have we of thirteen being a lucky- 

number ? Page 60. 

45. What emperor sat upon his throne for three hun- 

dred and fifty years ? Page 61. 

46. How has Victor Hugo estimated certain great lit- 

erary men ? Page 62. 

47. What picture is called the " second great picture of 

the world " ? Page 65. 

48. In what church in Europe is the Roman-Catholic 

and Protestant service held at the same time ? 
Page 66. 

49. What beautiful instance of devotion is recorded of 

the women of Weinsberg ? Page 6^. 

50. What are Ruskin's "Seven Lamps of Architec- 

ture " ? Page 68. 

51. What was the blind man's answer, when asked 

which was the greater art, painting or sculpture ? 
Page 69. 

52. Of whom is it recorded, " He never said a foolish 

thing, and never did a wise one " ? Page 70. 

53- What battle is called the "Battle of Nations"? 
Page 71. 

54. What was the object aimed at and accomplished by- 

Cervantes, in his "Don Quixote" ? Page 72. 

55. What is the most costly picture in the world ? 

Page 74. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. XIU 

56. Who was the "Mentone man " ? Page 75, 

57. Who are called the " Spies of the Czar " ? Page 75. 

58. Upon what old custom did Whittier found his beau- 

tiful poem of " Telling the Bees " ? Page Jj. 

59. What Huguenot was exempted from the massacre 

of St. Bartholomew by Catherine de' Medici ? 
Page ^7. 

60. What is the origin of the term " Brother Jona- 

than " ? Page 79. 

61. What modern king and queen of England were 

elected ? Page 80. 

62. What is the plot of the opera " Lucrezia Borgia " ? 

Page 81. 

63. Who built the Great Wall of China ? Page 83. 

64. What man lost his life for writing a punning epi- 

gram ? Page 84. 

65. What man stood upon a pillar for more than thirty 

years ? Page 84. 

66. Who were the seven sleepers of Ephesus ? Page 85. 

67. What is the history of the two marble columns 

standing in St. Mark's Square, Venice } Page 86. 

68. What is the origin of the term " pin-money " .'' 

Page Zy. 

69. Who founded the Society of Jesuits } Page 88. 

70. Of whom was it written, "There is a tomb in 

Arqua, reared in air, wherein repose the bones 
of Laura's lover " } Page 89. 

71. What are the Elgin Marbles.'* Page 91. 



xiv CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

72. How does the motion of the earth differ from all 

artificial motion ? Page 91. 

73. What woman assumed to be the Holy Ghost ? 

Page 92. 

74. What poem is called "The Iliad of France"? 

Page 93. 

75. What work of art, executed in Europe, has had a 

special building erected for it in- America ? 
Page 94. 

76. What do the wax figures in Westminster Abbey 

represent ? Page 96. 

77. What are Pasquinades ? Page 96. 

78. Who was the "Old Man of the Mountain"? Page 97. 

79. What is the Taj Mahal ? Page 98. 

80. What does the Harleian Collection, purchased by 

the British Museum, contain ? Page 99. 

81. Why is a chronic grumbler called a Momus ? 

Page 100. 

82. What was the Carroccio ? Page loi. 

83. What is the origin of the saying, " Robbing Peter 

to pay Paul " ? Page 102. 

84. Who were the Mamelukes ? Page 103. 

85. What is the supposed secret of the Fenian oath ? 

Page 103. 

86. What is said to be the most curious book in the 

world ? Page 105. 

87. What painting is called "the third picture of the 

world" ? Page 106. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. XV 

88. What is the Key of Death ? Page 107. 

89. How long did the city of Pompeii remain under- 

ground ? Page 107. 

90. Who was the original of "Jeanie Deans," in Sir 

Walter Scott's " Heart of Mid - Lothian " ? 
Page 109. 

91. Of what doors did Michael Angelo say, "They 

are worthy to be the Gates of Paradise " ? 
Page no. 

92. What is the origin of " There's many a slip 'twixt 

the cup and the lip " ? Page 112. 

93. Who first assumed the title of " Czar of Russia " ? 

Page 112. 

94. Who wrote the Koran ? Page 1 14. 

95. What is a Tope ? Page 115. 

96. Who was the Mary who "had a little lamb"? 

Page 116. 

97. Who were the Maroons? Page 117. 

98. Who was the " Pennsylvania Pilgrim " of Whit- 

tier's poem ? Page 118. 

99. To commemorate what event was the Cathedral of 

Moscow erected ? Page 119. 

100. Who interpreted the Sphinx riddle? Page 120. 

loi. What great general requested that his heart might 
be buried in one place, and his body in another ? 
Page 121. 

102. What is the plot of the opera " Lohengrin " ? 
Page 123. 



XVI CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

103. To what work of Raphael's did Michael Angelo 

vow that he would put a stop ? and how did he 
fulfil his vow? Page 125. 

104. What verse in the Bible is called the " Neck- Verse," 

and why ? Page 1 26. 

105. To commemorate what event were the Marian 

Games instituted ? Page 126. 

106. Who is the hero of " The Lusiad " ? Page 128. 

107. What is the Kremlin ? Page 130. 

108. Who said, " If the nose of Cleopatra had been 

shorter, the whole face of the world would have 
been different"? Page 131. 

109. What queen married, successively, her two broth- 

ers, both younger than herself ? Page 132. 

no. What serious result followed the revocation of the 
Edict of Nantes ? Page 1 34. 

111. What is the origin of "The curtain is the pic- 

ture" ? Page 135. 

112. Who said, "There is no royal road to learning" ? 

Page 136. 

113. Who gave to the world the first description of 

China, and suffered persecution for so doing? 
Page 136. 

114. What is the plot of the drama "Sakuntala"? 

Page 138, 

115. When did the "Bee" become the insignia of the 

Napoleonic dynasty ? Page 1 39. 

116. In what trial did Chassanee, the celebrated French 

jurist, win his first laurels ? Page 140. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. xvii 

117. Why was the last King of France called the " King 

of the French " ? Page 142. 

118. Who wrote "The Battle of the Books," and why ? 

Page 143. 

119. What has Ruskin said of Tintoretto's famous pic- 

tures ? Page 143. 

120. Where were stones manufactured and used in large 

quantities ? Page 145. 

121. What two generals were buried secretly, and what 

was done with those who took part in their 
interment ? Page 145. 

122. Whose is the greatest name in German literature ? 

Page 146. 

123. What and where is the Burgh Mousa ? Page 147. 

124. What kind of a tub did Diogenes live in ? Page 148. 

125. Who were the Hohenstaufens ? Page 150. 

126. What is the legend of the Golden Cave ? Page 151. 

127. What are the Arundelian Marbles? Page 151. 

128. Who were the " Clerks of the Revels " ? Page 153. 

129. What king was the first, second, third, and fourth 

of his name at the same time ? Page 153. 

130. Of whom was it said, " He sat in his easy-chair, 

and was for twenty years the oracle of the lit- 
erary world " ? Page 155, 

131. Where did Michael Angelo get his model for "La 

Pieta" ? Page 156. 

132. What is the history of the " Sunday Stone " in the 

British Museum? Page 157. 



xviii CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

133. What great conqueror was overcome, and cruelly 

put to death, by a woman ? Page 157. 

134. In Longfellow's sonnet, "Three Friends of Mine," 

who were the three friends ? Page 159. 

135. What is called the eighth wonder of the world ? 

Page 159. 

136. What are the Towers of Silence ? Page 161. 

137. Who were the Guelphs and Ghibellines ? Page 161. 

138. What is the distinction between the terms classic 

and romantic in literature? Page 162. 

139- What is the Bambino ? Page 163. 

140. What is the difference between a joust and a tour- 

nament ? Page 164. 

141. Who were the Janizaries ? Page 165. 

142. Upon what historical facts are the Iliad and Odys- 

sey founded? Page 167, 

143. What miracle is said to have put a stop to the re- 

building of the Temple of Jerusalem ? Page 168. 

144. Why is Pennsylvania called the Keystone State ? 

Page 169. 

145. Who was Zenobia? Page 170. 

146. What is to be understood by Sanskrit literature ? 

Page 172. 

147. What are Choragic monuments ? Page 172. 

148. Who were the seven wise men of Greece, and what 

were their mottoes ? Page 173. 

149. What man, by his death, put an end to the gladia- 

torial combats in Rome? Page 174. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. XIX 

150. What is the plot of the opera "La Traviata"? 

Page 176. 

151. What are considered to be Michael Angelo's mas- 

terpieces ? Page 178. 

152. What is the modern invention of converting light 

into sound ? Page 1 79. 

153. When did the kings and nobles of Ireland hold 

their last assembly in Tara's Hall ? Page 180. 

154. What are Utopian schemes? Page 181. 

155. What work of antique art in the British Museum 

has a special guardian ? Page 182. 

156. Who invented the method of chronology now in 

use; viz., B.C. and A.D. .'' Page 186, 

157. Who were the Amazons, and what kingdoms did 

they found .-^ Page 187. 

158. What is the legend of the Island of Seven Cities ? 

Page 188. 

159. What are Kit-Cat pictures .'' Page 188. 

160. What great man's surname has become an epithet 

for a knave, and his Christian name a synonyme 
for the Devil .? Page 189. 

161. What queen died of a broken heart because forci- 

bly refused admission to the king's coronation > 
Page 190. 

162. Who are the heroes of the Nibelungenlied, the 

German Iliad.'' Page 191. 

163. Who built the Vatican t Page 193. 

164. What are the relic^^ exhibited every seven years at 

Aix-la-Chapelle ? Page 194. 

165. Who was the real '"Mother Goose" ? Page 195. 



XX CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

i66. What province in Turkey has never been con- 
quered, and why? Page 196. 

167. Who was " Hypatia," the heroine of Kingsley's 

novel ? Page 196. 

168. What is an oratorio? Page 197. 

169. Who was it that said, " Give me a lever long 

enough, and a prop strong enough, and I can 
move the world" ? Page 199. 

170. Who was the first, and who was the last, king of 

Jerusalem ? Page 200. 

171. What sacred books in other religions correspond 

to the Christian Bible ? Page 201. 

172. What are ^^«r(? pictures ? Page 202. 

173. How is alchemy said to have ended in tragedy in 

England, and in comedy in Germany ? Page 203, 

174. What emperor was flayed alive, his skin stuffed, 

and the effigy hung up in a foreign temple ? 
Page 208. 

175. Who wrote Telemaque, and what was done to the 

author ? Page 208. 

176. What painter and sculptor and architect have been 

named the trio of modern Greeks ? Page 209. 

177. What city is called the "City of the Violated 

Treaty"? Page 211. 

178. What is the oldest dynasty now reigning in Eu- 

rope ? Page 211. 

179. Who left half told the story of Cambuscan bold, 

and who finished the tale ? Page 212. 

180. What is the Laocoon ? Page 214. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. XXI 

i8i. What is the origin of "windfall," as expressing 
good luck ? Page 216. 

182. Who were the Maccabees? Page 217. 

183. Why are the " Buonarroti Papers " withheld from 

the public ? Page 220. 

184. What monument was unconsciously erected by a 

pagan to the memory of a Christian martyr? 
Page 221. 

185. When did the crescent become the ensign of the 

Mohammedans, and what does it signify ? 
Page 221. 

186. Who were the Lollards ? Page 222. 

187. What is the plot of the opera "II Trovatore"? 

Page 223. 

188. What were the basilicas ? Page 224. 

189. Who received the bequest left "to the bravest 

man in England " ? Page 225. 

190. What false prophet has arisen in our own country, 

and within our own century ? Page 226. 

191. What is the epic poem of Spain? Page 229. 

192. What is the largest statue in the world ? Page 231. 

193. Who are the tutelary deities of London ? Page 232. 

194. Who were the Mound-Builders ? Page 233. 

195. Who were the characters referred to in Tenny- 

son's " Dream of Fair Women " ? Page 236. 

196. What is the history of the Egyptian obelisk in 

Central Park, New York ? Page 240. 

197. What bone in the body is said to be the nucleus 

of the resurrection body ? Page 242. 



XXll CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

198. Whose dying words were, "I have loved justice, 

and hated iniquity ; therefore I die an exile " ? 
Page 243. 

199. Who was the original Bluebeard ? Page 245. 

200. What is the highest architectural point in the 

world ? Page 247. 

201. When were eleven days dropped out of the Eng- 

lish calendar, to make the year agree with that 
of Continental countries ? Page 250. 

202. Who was the witch of Endor? Page 252. 

203. In Whittier's " Snow-Bound," who is the charac- 

ter introduced as "Another guest that winter 
night" ? Page 253. 

204. Who was Lady Hester Stanhope ? Page 256. 

205. What is a clepsydra? Page 258. 

206. Of what statue did Pope Clement XIV. say, " He 

would speak did not the rule of his order for- 
bid "• ? Page 261. 

207. What king could not speak the language of the 

nation over which he ruled ? Page 261. 

208. Who is the author of "To err is human, to forgive 

divine " ? Page 263. 

209. When was heraldry introduced into England ? 

Page 265. 

210. What is chloroform ? Page 266. 

211. In what terrible manner was the last Kaliph put 

to death ? Page 267. 

212. Who is the heroine of Spenser's " Faerie Oueene " ? 

Page 268. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. XX1H 

213. What is reckoned to be the oldest statue in the 

world? Page 271. 

214. How many lives were sacrificed during the " Reign 

of Terror" in France? Page- 272. 

215. Who was the author of " God save the King " ? 

Page 274. 

216. Whom does Byron call the " Last of Romans " ? 

Page 274. 

217. What is the oldest art ? Page 277. 

218. What is the festival of " Scouring the White 

Horse " ? Page 279. 

219. What great general ordered that after his death 

his skin should be made into drumheads, that 
he might still lead his troops against his ene- 
mies ? Page 280. 

220. To whose funeral did Lord Tennyson send a 

wreath inscribed " To the World's Greatest 
Poet" ? Page 281. 

221. What is meant by the "Vocal Memnon" ? Page 283. 

222. What is the Tenebrae ? Page 284. 

223. When was the week made to consist of ten days, 

that Sunday might not be observed? Page 285. 

224. Who are the real characters introduced by Dante 

in his " Inferno " ? Page 287. 

225. When did the custom of "The Golden Rose" 

originate ? Page 292. 

226. Where is the Rock of Refuge ? Page 292. 

227. What led to the foundation of the city of Venice ? 

Page 293. 



XXIV CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

228. Give some ^American literary pseudonymes. 

Page 294. 

229. How were Madonnas first painted ? Page 295. 

230. When were thimbles invented ? Page 296. 

231. Who were the Moors? Page 297. 

232. What is the legend of the Wandering Jew ? 

Page 298. 

233. Why did Michael Angelo paint Sibyls alternately 

with Prophets on the ceiling of the Sistine 
Chapel ? Page 301. 

234. What wonder in the age of Shakspeare is called 

the " Great Bed of Ware " ? Page 302. 

235. In what way is the wealth of Crcesus accounted 

for ? Page 303. 

236. From what poem were the songs of the gondoliers 

of Venice taken for over two hundred years ? 
Page 304. 

237. Of what artist did Guido say, "The fellow mixes 

blood with his colors " ? Page 305. 

238. Why is an endless task said to be like " Penelope's 

Web " ? Page 307. 

239. Who called England "Perfidious Albion"? 

Page 308. 

240. What is the most important of all inventions? 

Page 310. 

241. Why was the amphitheatre at Rome called the 

Colosseum ? Page 312. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. XXV 

242. Who destroyed the brazen serpent set up by 

Moses in the wilderness ? Page 313. 

243. When were surnames or fixed family names 

adopted? Page 314. 

244. What are the Eugubine Tables? Page 316. 

245. Why are the Ellora Caves important? Page 317. 

246. How did King Nabis extort money from his sub- 

jects ? Page 318. 

247. Why is the Peace of Cambray called the " Ladies' 

Peace" ? Page 318. 

248. What authors have been made famous by one 

work ? Page 319. 

249. What gave rise to the Roman School of Art ? 

Page 320. 

250. What and where is the Sacro Catino ? Page 320. 

251. Who was the last of the astrologers? Page 321. 

252. What are the Fasti Capitolini ? Page 322. 

253. What is considered the loveliest face in antique 

sculpture ? Page 323. 

254. When was Sunday proclaimed a legal day of rest ? 

Page 324. 

255. What town in the Old World was captured by the 

United States ? Page 325. 

256. Who are the heroes of the great Hindoo epics, the 

Ramayana and the Mahabharata ? Page 326. 

257- In what cathedral are the columns said to be the 
largest single stones which the hand of man has 
cut, rounded, and polished? Page 327. 



XX vi CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

258. How are aerolites, or meteoric stones, accounted 

for ? Page 328. 

259. Where do the bones of Columbus now rest ? 

Page 329. 

260. Why did Virgil on his death-bed wish to burn the 

-^neid ? Page 332. 

261. What discovery was the result of a wild frolic of 

English sailors in Egypt ? Page 335, 

262. Where is the river of natural ink, and how is it 

accounted for ? Page 337. 

263. What was the cause of the Franco-Prussian war, 

and how did it benefit Germany ? Page 339. 

264. What book is said to have gone through more edi- 

tions, and to have been translated into more 
languages, than any book except our Bible ? 
Page 340. 

265. What became of the Black Rood of Scotland ? 

Page 341. 

266. What king came to the throne of France bearing 

five coffins in his train ? Page 344. 

267. What people are our antipodes in manners and 

customs ? Page 344. 

268. Who are the real characters in Longfellow's 

" Wayside Inn " ? Page 345. 

269. What is the subject of the work of art called "The 

Farnese Bull " ? Page 349. 

270. What is a Pragmatic Sanction ? Page 351. 

271. What ancestry do the Afghans claim ? Page 351, 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. XXVll 

272. Did Michael Angelo paint the " Three Fates " ? 

Page 352. 

273. What does Southey mean when he says, " I have 

not reared the Oriflamme of death " ? Page 353. 

274. Which is the oldest family ? Page 354. 

275. What is the origin of the ring in the marriage 

ceremony ? Page 356. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 



I. A QUEEN CROWNED AFTER DEATH. 

Inez de Castro, queen of Pedro I. of Portugal, was 
the near relative of the King of Portugal, and also of 
the King of Castile ; but, notwithstanding her royal 
descent, she consented to a clandestine marriage with 
Don Pedro, whom, for political reasons, his father the 
king had already contracted in marriage to a Spanish 
princess. She was married to Don Pedro on the ist of 
January, 1347. 

Three years afterwards she was murdered by assas- 
sins, instigated to the act by her father-in-law, the King 
of Portugal. When Don Pedro heard of her assassina- 
tion, he was beside himself with grief and rage. He 
desolated with the sword those portions of his father's 
realm in which the assassins dwelt. 

Two of the criminals fell into his hands, and were; 
exposed to the most exquisite torture for three days 
and nights, after which their hearts were torn out while 
the victims were yet living. When he came to the 
throne, shortly after, he had the body of Inez taken 
from the grave, placed upon a magnificent throne, 
arrayed in robes of royalty, and crowned "-Queen of 



2 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Portugal." The court was then summoned, and com- 
pelled to do her homage as if she were a living queen. 

One fleshless hand held the sceptre ; and the other, 
the orb of royalty. The night after the coronation, 
there was a grand funeral cortege extending for many 
miles, each person carrying a torch. They escorted 
the crowned queen, as she lay in her rich robes in a 
chariot drawn by black mules, to the royal abbey of 
Alcobaga for interment. Her monument is still to be 
seen there, with Don Pedro's at the foot of it. It is 
said that Don Pedro lived for many years, a cold, 
gloomy, yet merciful ruler, winning the title of " Pedro 
the Just." 

From the son of this princess, Don Juan, descends 
the present reigning house of Portugal. 

An attempt made by Philip II. of Spain to secure 
the throne of Portugal by trying to prove the marriage 
of Inez illegal, shows clearly the political reason for the 
posthumous coronation of Inez de Castro, beloved wife 
of Pedro I. of Portugal. 

In this curious story may be discerned the essential 
difference of characteristics, as between Spain and 
Portugal. Since they form but a single territory, with 
the rivers Minho, Douro, and Tagus running through 
them, and unseparated by mountain ranges, it appears 
that the diversity is of race. When the Northern 
tribes came down upon Western Rome, the Suevi set- 
tled the west coast of Spain ; while the Vandals and 
Alans and Goths spread over the rest of the peninsula. 
The Suevi have maintained their individuality through 
all the intervening years, insomuch that the Portuguese 
are called at the present day by the Spaniards Sevasos, 
a corruption of Suevi. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 



% THE REAL PRISONER OF CHILLON. 

" Chillon ! thy prison is a holy place, 

And thy sad floor an altar ; for 'twas trod, 
Until his steps have left a trace 

Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod, 
By Bonnivard ! May none those marks efface ! 
For they appeal from tyranny to God." 

Byron. 

The castle of Chillon has been immortalized by 
Byron's beautiful poem of "The Prisoner of Chillon." 

It is situated at the east end of the Lake of Geneva, 
Switzerland, on an isolated rock almost entirely sur- 
rounded by deep water, but connected with the shore 
by a wooden bridge. 

" Lake Leman lies by Chillon's walls : 
A thousand feet in depth below, 
Its massy waters meet and flow." 

This castle was built in the ninth century, and was 
altered and fortified by Amadeus IV., Duke of Savoy, 
in 1238, and was long used as a state prison, where, 
among other victims, many of the early reformers were 
immured. The castle is well preserved, and is extremely 
interesting to tourists. The prison-vaults are all below 
the surface of the lake. Such of these vaults as are 
lighted at all have small windows, through which the 
sunlight passes by reflection from the surface of the lake 
up to the roof, transmitting also partly the blue color 
of the waters. 

The dungeon of Bonnivard, the Swiss patriot, whose 
imprisonment has made this castle one of the shrines 
of freedom, consists of two vaulted aisles ; its floor and 
one side being formed by the solid rock. 

In one of the pillars is a ring, to which Bonnivard 



4 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

was chained (1530-36) ; and the stone floor at its base 
is worn by his constant pacing to and fro. 

When Byron wrote his poem, either he had in view 
an imaginary captive, or else the true history of the 
real Bonnivard was unknown to him. 

Frangois Bonnivard, the real prisoner, had no broth- 
ers ; and none of his name died in the castle. 

Byron makes him one of six brothers, who, with their 
father, laid down their lives upon the altar of freedom. 

"We were seven — who now are one, — 
Six in youth, and one in age, 
Finished as they had begun, 
Proud of persecution's rage : 
One in fire, and two in field. 
Their belief with blood have sealed; 
Dying as their father died, 
For the God their foes denied : 
Three were in a dungeon cast, 
Of whom this wreck is left the last." 

The true Bonnivard was the son of the Lord of Lune : 
when he was but sixteen years old, he inherited from 
his uncle the rich priory of St. Victor. He espoused 
the cause of the city of Geneva against Charles V. of 
Savoy, who, in retaliation, sequestered his estates, and 
confined him for two years in the castle of Grolee. 
When he regained his liberty, he took up arms to 
recover his estate, and was aided in this effort by the 
city of Geneva. The Duke of Savoy again captured 
him, and sent him to the castle of Chillon, where he 
was imprisoned for six years. 

After the Reformation, when the castle was taken by 
the Swiss, he was set free. 

" It might be months, or years, or days, 
I kept no count, — I took no note. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 5 

I had no hope my eyes to raise, 
And clear them of their dreary mote. 

At last men came to set me free : 

I asked not why, and recked not where ; . 

It was at length the same to me. 
Fettered or fetterless to be, 

I learned to love despair." 

He had left Geneva a Catholic state, and in pos- 
session of the Duke of Savoy : he found it on his return 
a free republic, and devoted to the faith of the Refor- 
mation. He died at the age of seventy-five, a distin- 
guished citizen of the republic. Travellers are also 
shown, in this castle, the chapel where the dukes of 
Savoy attended mass, unmindful of the victims in the 
vaults below; the Potence, a beam black with age, to 
which the criminal was hanged ; the hole in the wall 
through which his body was thrust into the lake ; the 
torture-chamber, in which stands a wooden pillar which 
still bears the marks of the hot iron ; and the Oubliette, 
a frightful place, into which prisoners were thrust to die. 

The attendant will also raise a trap-door in the stone 
floor, and show a spiral stairway of three steps. The 
prisoner was compelled to walk down these steps, and, 
failing to find a fourth, was hurled eighty feet below 
into a pit, where he fell upon sharp knives, and was left 
to die. " It is by this castle of Chillon also that Rous- 
seau has fixed the catastrophe of his ' Heloise,' in the 
rescue of one of her children by Julie from the water ; 
the shock of which, and the illness produced by the 
immersion, is the cause of her death." 

The chateau being large, and its walls white, it can be 
seen for a long distance from the lake. 

The lake has been sounded to a depth of eight hun- 
dred feet, French measure. 



6 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

3. FIRST PICTURE IN THE WORLD. 

"The Transfiguration" by Raphael is called the first 
and grandest picture in the world. 

It was originally painted by order of Cardinal Giulio 
de Medici (afterward Clement VII.), Archbishop of Nar- 
bonne, for that cathedral : but it was scarcely finished 
when Raphael died ; and it hung over his bed as he lay 
in state, and it was carried in his funeral procession. 
Three reasons are given for combining in one the two 
scenes, that of the Transfiguration and that of the heal- 
ing of the demoniac boy. First, it was in accordance 
with the custom of the day to paint an earthly and a 
heavenly scene on one canvas ; secondly, an historical 
reason, because the Gospel narrative presents the two 
events as nearly simultaneous (St. Matthew xvii.) ; 
thirdly, an artistic reason, because this conjunction gave 
the painter room to express in ideal perfectness the 
great contrast between light and darkness, human suffer- 
ing and divine glory. 

In looking at "The Transfiguration," we must bear 
in mind that it is not an historical, but a devotional, 
picture. On the right side of the Saviour we see 
Moses, and on the left Elijah, representing the law and 
the prophets, both of which testified of him. 

It has been asked who are the two figures on the left 
side of the upper group. The two are St. Laurence 
and St. Julian, placed there at the request of Cardinal 
de Medici ; and these two figures commemorate (in a 
poetical way, not unusual at the time) his father Lo- 
renzo, and his uncle Giuliano de Medici. 

This picture was carried to Paris ; and, on its restora- 
tion to Rome by the French, it was placed in the Vatican, 
and now bears the title of " The Jewel of the Vatican." 



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Curious Questions. Vol. I , pag'e 6. 



THE TRANSFIGURATION — Raphael 
(Vatican, Rome.) 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 7 

4. CURIOUS CUSTOMS IN PARLIAMENT. 

During the reign of King John (1199), the king 
agreed to settle the difficulty with Philip II. of France, 
respecting the Duchy of Normandy, by single combat. 

John, the Earl of Ulster, was the English champion ; 
and, as soon as he appeared on the field of combat, his 
adversary put spurs to his horse, and fled, leaving him 
master of the field. 

King John asked the earl what his reward should be. 
He replied, " Titles and lands I want not ; of these I 
have enough : but, in remembrance of this day, I beg the 
boon for myself and successors, to remain covered in 
the presence of your Majesty and all other sovereigns 
of this realm." The request was granted, and has never 
been revoked, which accounts for the odd custom in 
Parliament of members wearing their hats. During the 
reign of Elizabeth (1558) an act of Parliament was 
passed forbidding the exportation of wool ; and as a me- 
morial of the event, and to impress the people with the 
national importance of it, as well as to keep constantly 
in their minds this source of national wealth, sacks of 
wool were placed in the House of Lords, on which the 
Judges sat. 

The Lord Chancellor, who presides over the House 
of Lords, still sits upon a sack of wool, over which is 
thrown a red cloth. To be appointed " High Chancel- 
lor " of England is even now " to be appointed to the 
wool-sack." 



5. THE TAE-PING REBELLION. 

During this rebellion in China, which broke out in 
1850, women were as active as men in all military du- 
ties. 



8 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

In Nankin in 1853 half a million of women from va- 
rious parts of the country were formed into brigades 
of thirteen thousand each, under female officers. Of 
these, ten thousand were picked women, drilled and 
garrisoned in the city. The rest were compelled to 
undergo the drudgery of digging moats, making earth- 
works, erecting batteries, etc. This politico-religious 
rebellion is the most remarkable of recent events in 
China. The leader of the rebellion, Hungsewtseuen, 
having been led by the perusal of some Christian tracts 
to renounce idolatry, founded a society called " God- 
Worshippers." 

In 1850 this society came into collision with the im- 
perial authorities, the state religion of China being the 
Confucian. Hungsewtseuen persuaded himself and his 
followers that he had received a divine commission to 
uproot idolatry, and establish a universal peace. 

He assumed the title of Tien-wang, or Heavenly 
Prince. 

His followers held that Tien-wang was the Son of 
God, and worshipped him accordingly. 

Polygamy was a dark feature of their religious sys- 
tem : Tien-wang had thirty wives. With immense 
armies of converts, men and women, he laid desolate 
some of the best cultivated provinces of China. 

The city of Nankin was held by them until 1864, 
when the rebellion was finally suppressed by the gov- 
ernment, assisted by English, French, and American 
officers. 

The leader, Hungsewtseuen, perished by his own 
hands amid the blazing ruins of the palace he had occu- 
pied for eleven years. 

Nankin became again the seat of the Chinese govern- 
ment. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 9 

The recapture of Pekin in i860 by the English and 
French was followed by a treaty which granted impor- 
tant privileges to European merchants, and made it the 
direct interest of the English, 'French, and American 
governments, to re-establish order in China. China in 
art, literature, politics, was like a precocious child. It 
developed early, and then that development was 
arrested ; and every thing has gone on without improve- 
ment for centuries. 



[These notes upon " Tent on the Beach " have been kindly approved by the 
author of the poem.] 

6. TENT ON THE BEACH. 

" When heats as of a tropic clime 

Burned all our inland valleys through, 
Three friends, the guests of summer time, 

Pitched their white tent where sea-winds blew." 

Whittier. 

This poem was written in 1867. 

The " three friends " are James T. Fields, Bayard 
Taylor, and Whittier himself. 

" They rested there, escaped a while 
From cares that wear the life away, 
To eat the lotus of the Nile, 
And drink the poppies of Cathay." 

■The "lotus" is an Egyptian plant very like our 
water-lily. It is fabled, if eaten, to make one forget 
his native country, or cease to desire to return to it : 
by " lotus-eater " is meant one who gives himself up 
to pleasure-seeking. 

" In the afternoon they came unto a land, 
In which it seemed always afternoon." 



lO CURIOUS QUESTIONS 

" And round about the keel with faces pale, 
Dark faces pale against that rosy flame, 
The mild-eyed melancholy Lotus-eaters came." 

" Then some one said, ' We will return no more ; ' 
And all at once they sang, ' Our island home 
Is far beyond the wave : we will no longer roam.' " 

Tennyson, 

"Cathay" is the ancient name for China. 

Opium is the chief ingredient of the poppy, which 
grows luxuriantly in the East Indies, and is largely, 
imported into China : it is a narcotic, and makes one 
insensible to, or forgetful of, pain. 

" One, with his beard scarce silvered, bore 
A ready credence in his looks, 
A lettered magnate, lording o'er 
An ever-widening realm of books." 

James T. Fields, A.M., is referred to here and in the 
next two verses. 

He was editor of " The Atlantic Monthly " for eight 
years, was a poet, essayist, and extensive publisher. 
Few men have exercised a more important influence 
over American literature. He was born in New Hamp- 
shire, 1 817, died in Boston, 1881. 

"In him brain-currents near and far 
Converge as in a Leyden jar : 
The old, dead authors throng him round about, 
And Elzevir's gray ghosts from leathern graves look out. " 

The "Leyden jar" is used to store electricity, and 
is so named because the first one was made in Leyden, 
Holland. 

*' Elzevir " is the name of a celebrated family of 
printers in Holland. They published an edition of the 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 1 

Latin classics, bound in leather, between 1 592-1626, an 
edition unrivaled for beauty and correctness. 

They published also twelve hundred and thirteen 
other works with the greatest care. For more than a 
century this family has ceased to have any connection 
with printing. 

" He kaew each living pundit well." 

A "pundit" means a learned man or woman. 

" No Rhadamantine brow of doom, 
Bowed the dazed pedant from his room." 

Rhadamanthus was a mythical personage, the brother 
of Minos. So great was his reputation for justice during 
his life, that after death he was appointed one of the 
three judges in the underworld, the other two being 
Minos and ^ocus. 

A "pedant" is one who makes a display of learning 
in an improper manner. 

" Pleasant it was to roam about 

The lettered world as he had done, 
And see the lords of song without 

Their singing robes and garlands on; 
With Wordsworth paddle Rydal mere, 
Taste rugged Elliott's home-brewed beer, 
And with the ears of Rogers, at fourscore, 
Hear Garrick's buskined tread and Walpole's wit once more." 

William "Wordsworth" was a famous English poet 
born in 1770, died in 1850. His home was at Rydal-. 
mere, a lake near by. 

"Elliott" was a poet highly praised by Carlyle, en- 
gaged with John Bright and Richard Cobden in the re- 
peal of the English Corn Laws. 

" Garrick " was the most celebrated actor on the Eng- 
lish stage from 17 16 to 1799. 



12 , CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

" Walpole " was an English statesman from 1676 to 
1745- 

" And one there was, a dreamer born, 
Who, with a mission to fulfil, 
Had left the Muses' haunts, to turn 
The crank of an opinion-mill." 

John G. Whittier refers to himself in this and in the 
three succeeding verses. He was born in Haverhill, 
Mass., 1807, in the Society of Friends. He worked on 
a farm in his youth. In 1835 he was elected to the 
Massachusetts Legislature; in 1836 appointed sec- 
retary of the Antislavery Society, and editor of the 
" Pennsylvania Freeman " in Philadelphia; in 1840 he 
removed to Amesbury, Mass., where he still resides. 
He is one of the most popular poets of America. 

" Too quiet seemed the man to ride 
The winged Hippogriff Reform." 

" Hippogriff," a fabulous animal represented as a 
winged horse, with the head of a griffin. 

" And one whose Arab face was tanned 

By tropic sun and boreal frost, 

So travelled, there was scarce a land 

Or people left him to exhaust." 

Bayard Taylor, the great American traveller and 
statesman, is here referred to. When quite a young 
man he took a journey through Europe on foot. On 
coming home, he published a history of his travels in a 
book called "Views Afoot." 

He afterwards travelled all over the world, and pub- 
lished various books of travels ; also wrote four novels 
and several volumes of poems, and a translation of 
Goethe's "Faust." He was sent as American minister 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 3 

to Berlin in 1877, and died there, Dec. 19, 1878, aged 
about fifty-three years. 

" His memory round the ransacked earth 
On Puck's air-girdle slid at ease." 

"Puck," the same as Hobgoblin or Robin Goodfellow, 
a fairy and merry wanderer. 

" They bore, in unrestrained delight, 
The motto of the Garter's Knight." 

This refers to the "Order of the Garter," instituted 
by Edward III. of England. 

"Honi soit qui mal y pense" ("Evil to him who evil 
thinks ") is the motto not only of the " Garter Knight," 
but is also seen on the royal arms of Great Britain. 

" Careless as if from every gazing thing 
Hid by their innocence, as Gyges by his ring." 

"Gyges' ring," according to Plato, rendered the wearer 
invisible. By this talisman he is said to have entered 
the chamber of the Lydian King Candaules, unseen, and 
to have murdered him, reigning in his stead from 716 to 

678 B.C. 

" At times their fishing-lines they plied, 
With an old Triton at the oar." 

. "Triton," a son of Neptune, is represented in myth- 
ology as a fish with a human head. It is to this sea-god 
that the roaring of the ocean is attributed, — " Triton 
blowing through his shell." 

" And heard the ghosts on Haley's Isle complain." 

" Haley's Isle," one of the group called the Isles of 
Shoals off the coast of New England : the crew of a 
wrecked Spanish vessel were buried on the island. 

The three poems introduced, — "The Wreck of River- 



14 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

mouth," "The Grave by the Lake," and "The Brother of 
Mercy," — though poetically assigned to "the guests," 
are of Whittier's own composition. 



7. THE "MADONNA DI SAN SISTO." 

This work of Raphael's belongs to the most brilliant 
period of the great master. According to Vasari, it was 
painted in 15 18 for the high altar of the convent of the 
Benedictines of St. Sixtus at Piacenza, and remained 
there until Augustus III., Elector of Saxony, and King 
of Poland, resolved to purchase it. It was not until 
twenty years later (in 175 3), that, through the interven- 
tion of the painter Carlo Giovannini of Bologna, it was 
finally purchased for the Dresden Gallery, the sum of 
eight thousand pounds being paid for it. The sellers 
reserved the right to have an exact copy of the picture, 
which should, according to custom, remain in the place 
of the original, and continue to pass for it. In No- 
vember, 1753, Giovannini himself bore the picture to 
Dresden. The king, impatient to see again this long- 
desired masterpiece, ordered it to be immediately un- 
packed and displayed in the castle. When it was carried 
into the throne-room, they hesitated to put it in the 
most favorable place in regard to light, for that was ex- 
actly where the throne stood. The king, perceiving 
this, hastily drew aside the throne-chair, saying, " Make 
room for the immortal Raphael ! " This painting has 
remained ever since the prized masterpiece of the Dres- 
den Gallery. It was painted in 15 18. The characters 
at either side and below the Madonna are Pope Sixtus 
and St. Barbara. The two cherubs in the lower part of 
the painting are known as "Raphael's Afterthoughts." 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 5 

8. ORIGIN OF CASTING A SHOE AFTER A BRIDE. 

As seen from paintings on the walls of Thebes, shoe- 
making formed a distinct trade in the reign of Thothmes 
III. (about 1600 B.C.). Reference is made in Scripture 
to different symbolical usages in connection with san- 
dals or shoes. 

The delivery of a shoe was used as a testimony in 
transferring a possession. A man plucked off his shoe, 
and gave it to his neighbor ; and this was a testimony 
in Israel. 

The throwing of a shoe on property was a symbol of 
new ownership, as, " Over Edom will I cast out my 
shoe " (Ps. Ix. 8). 

From these ancient practices came the old customs 
in England and Scotland of throwing an old shoe after 
a bride on her departure for a new home, symbolizing 
that the parents gave up all right or dominion over 
their daughter. 

In Anglo-Saxon times the father delivered the bride's 
shoe to the bridegroom, who touched her on the head 
with it, to show his authority. 

In Turkey the bridegroom after marriage is chased 
by the wedding-guests, and pelted with slippers by way 
of adieu. 

" Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear," means not 
worthy to be his lowest slave ; as it was the business of 
the slave most recently purchased, to loose and carry 
his master's sandals. 

Among the ancient Northmen, when a man adopted 
a son, the person adopted put on the shoes of the 
adopter. 

St. Crispin and Crispinian are regarded as the patron 
saints of shoemakers, as they supported themselves at 



1 6 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

this trade while preaching the gospel through Gaul and 
Britain. 

Shoemaking is called the gentle craft, and is noted 
for the number of men who have risen from it to emi- 
nence. 



9. WOODEN SWORDS USED IN BATTLE. 

It is recorded of the ancient Mexicans, that they 
went into battle with wooden swords, that they might 
not kill their enemies. (See Grimm's *' Life of Michael 
Angelo.") 

The name Mexico is derived from Mexitili, the tute- 
lary deity of the Aztecs. 

There is no authentic history of Mexico until the end 
of the sixth century, all before that time being more or 
less mythological. It is known, that, in the beginning 
of the seventh century, the Toltecs, a race of people 
from the north, descended into the valley, and settled 
there. 

Little is known of the history of the Toltecs except 
that they were an agricultural people, humane and 
civilized, and proficient in the mechanical arts. 

They seem to have lived quietly for about five hun- 
dred years, when civil strife, pestilence, and famine 
caused large numbers to emigrate. 

Those remaining intermarried with neighboring 
tribes : they were all finally overcome by the Aztecs, 
who gave their name to the whole country and to the 
civilization of their day, much of which, however, they 
really received from the Toltecs. 

The Aztecs were a fierce, warlike race ; and their re- 
ligion was the most bloodthirsty the world has ever 
known. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 7 

The temples of their gods were scattered throughout 
the land, and thousands of human beings were sacri- 
ficed every year upon their altars. 

The victims were mostly prisoners-of-war ; and, in 
their battles, the Aztecs tried to kill as few of their 
enemies as possible, that they might have the more to 
offer in sacrifice. 

In the years preceding the Spanish conquest, from 
twenty thousand to fifty thousand victims were annu- 
ally sacrificed. 

On April 22, 1519, Hernan Cortes landed at Vera 
Cruz, overthrew the Aztec kingdom, and took perma- 
nent possession of the country for Spain. The story 
of the conquest has been most vividly told by Prescott, 
and is the foundation of a novel by Lewis Wallace, 
entitled "The Fair God." 



10. THE DEATH-WARRANT OF JESUS.' 

Of the n\any interesting relics and fragments brought 
to light by the persevering researches of antiquarians, 
none could be more interesting to the philanthropist 
and believer than the following, to Christians the most 
imposing judicial document ever recorded in human 
annals. It has been thus faithfully transcribed : — 

" Sentence rendered by Pontius Pilate, acting Governor of 
Lower Galilee, stating that Jesus of Nazareth shall suffer death 
on the cross. 

" In the year seventeen of the Emperor Tiberius Cssar, and the 
27th day of March, the city of the holy Jerusalem — Annas and 
Caiaphas being priests, sacrificators of the people of God ; Pontius 
Pilate, Governor of Lower Galilee, sitting in the presidential chair 

• See Gleanings, C. C. Bombaugh, A.M., M.D. 



1 8 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

of the przetory — condemns Jesus of Nazareth to die on the cross 
between two thieves, the great and notorious evidence of the peo- 
ple saying, — 

" I. Jesus is a seducer. 

" 2. He is seditious. 

"3. He is the enemy of the law. 

"4. He calls himself falsely the Son of God. 

" 5. He calls himself falsely the King of Israel. 

" 6. He entered into the temple, followed by a multitude bearing 
palm-branches in their hands. 

" Orders the first centurion, Quilius Cornelius, to lead him to 
the place of execution. Forbids any person whomsoever, either 
poor or rich, to oppose the death of Jesus Christ. 

"The witnesses who signed the condemnation of Jesus are, — 

"i. Daniel Robani, a Pharisee. 

"2. Joannus Robani. 

"3. Raphael Robani. 

" 4. Capet, a citizen. 

"Jesus shall go out of the city of Jerusalem by the gate of 
Struenus." 

The foregoing is engraved on a copper plate, on the 
reverse of which is written, " A similar plate is sent to 
each tribe." It was found in an antique marble vase, 
while excavating in the ancient city of Aquila, in the 
kingdom of Naples, in the year 18 10, and was discov- 
ered by the Commissioners of Arts of the French army. 
At the expedition of Naples, it was enclosed in a box of 
ebony, and preserved in the sacristy of the Chartem. 
The French translation was made by the Commissioners 
of Arts. The original is in the Hebrew lano-uao:e. 



II. PLINY'S DOVES. 



In one of the rooms on the upper floor of the Mu- 
seum of the Capitol at Rome, is the celebrated mosaic 
described by Pliny, and from his description called 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 9 

"Pliny's Doves." It is one of the finest and most per 
fectly preserved specimens of ancient mosaic, and is 
formed of natural stones so small that one hundred and 
sixty pieces cover only a square inch. It was found in 
Villa Adriana, in 1737, by Cardinal Furietti, from whom 
it was purchased by Pope Clement XIII. for the Cap- 
itoline Museum. 

This exquisite specimen of mosaic art is a copy of 
the work of Sosus, and is described by Pliny as a 
proof of the perfection to which that art had arrived. 
He says, " At Pergamos is a wonderful specimen of a 
dove drinking, and darkening the water with the shadow 
of her head : on the lip of the vessel are other doves 
pluming themselves." It was found set as a centre- 
piece in the floor of a room which was laid with coarser 
mosaic : around it was a stripe of flower-work as a 
border, about a hand in breadth, equally fine with the 
centre-piece. 



12. AMBER. 



Amber is the name of a fossil gum : we say " a fossil 
gum " because it seems to be the remains of a former 
age. From its peculiar qualities, the Romans called it 
electrum. 

This gum is found in the ground ; and, as it seems to 
be a crystallized substance, it is called a mineral. 

Amber was originally generated from a species of 
pine and fir tree, just as turpentine is now produced 
from certain pme and fir trees in our country. 

As the gum oozed out of the trees, it flowed down to 
the roots of the trees, where it lay in large deposits. 

A forest undisturbed for centuries would produce 
extensive fields of this gum. 



20 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

The excavations and explorations around the Black 
Sea reveal the fact that its shores were covered by vast 
forests of pine and fir trees, and that centuries ago the 
forests were submerged and covered up, as in this place 
amber is found in larger quantities than elsewhere. It 
is used largely for ornaments worn by ladies, and for 
many things it is more valuable than gold. 

Smokers use amber as mouthpieces for pipes, and 
very large quantities of it are sent to China to be made 
into idols, etc. 



13. A QUEEN WHO DRANK FROM A CUP MADE OF 
A HUMAN SKULL. 

The successors of Theodoric in the Gothic Kingdom 
of Italy were seven in number. 

After the death of the last of the seven, the Goths 
were subdued by Narses, who administered the govern- 
ment as duke until A.D. 567. He was recalled by the 
emperor Justin II. ; and, to avenge this insult, he invited 
Alboin, king of the Lombards, into Italy. 

Alboin penetrated into Italy, and was proclaimed 
king in 568. 

In single combat he killed Cunimund, king of the 
Gepidae, a German tribe, and forced Rosamond, the 
daughter of the murdered king, to become his wife. 

He then had a wine-cup made of the skull of Cuni- 
mund, out of which he compelled the queen to drink. 

The beautiful Rosamond dissembled her indignant 
feelings, but, waiting her opportunity, appealed to two 
officers for revenge, who, being admitted by her to the 
king's apartment, assassinated him as he lay asleep. 

According to agreement, Rosamond fled with one of 
the assassins, Helmichis, to Ravenna. 




TOMB OF THEODORIC THE GREAT, 
{Near Ravenna^ Italy.') 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 21 

Afterward, to free herself from the power of Hel- 
michis, she gave him a cup of poison to drink ; but he, 
detecting her treachery, drank half of it, and compelled 
her to drink the other half, so that they died together. 



14. THE POET WHOSE NAME WAS "WRIT IN WATER." 

In the Protestant cemetery at Rome, there is a grave 
with this inscription : "This grave contains all that was 
mortal of a young English poet, who on his deathbed, 
in the bitterness of his heart at the malicious power of 
his enemies, desired these words to be engraved on his 
tombstone : * Here lies one whose name was writ in 
water.' February 23, 182 1." This is the grave of John 
Keats, aged twenty -four years, born m London, 1795, 
died at Rome, 1821. 

He published his first volume of poems in 1817. In 
the following year appeared " Endymion," dedicated to 
the memory of Thomas Chatterton. This work was so 
severely handled in the English journals of the day, that 
he left England, and went to Italy. His later poems 
place him among the masters of his art, especially one 
entitled "The Eve of St. Agnes." 

He died feeling that his name would perish, but the 
influence of his style still lives. 

It is said that Browning "has his color without his 

melody," while Tennyson has both the color and the 

melody of Keats. 

.-♦-. 

15. THE LION OF LUCERNE. 

One of the chief attractions to tourists in the city o\ 
Lucerne, Switzerland, is the figure of a lion hewn out 
of the living rock on the side of a hio:h cliff which bor 



22 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

ders a small park at the extremity of the town : be- 
neath the lion is a small sheet of water, which reflects 
it with the clearness of a mirror. 

The lion is of colossal size, wounded to death, with 
a spear in his side, yet endeavoring in his last gasp to 
protect from injury a shield bearing the Jleur-de-lis of 
the Bourbons, which he holds in his paw. 

The design was furnished by the great sculptor Thor- 
waldsen ; and the " Lion of Lucerne " is a noble monu- 
ment erected to the memory of the Swiss Guard who 
fell in defence of the Tuileries at Paris, on the memor- 
able loth of August, 1792. 

Beneath the sculptured lion are the names of the 
officers of the Swiss Guard. 

When the revolutionary mob surrounded the Tuile- 
ries, the National Guard, and nine hundred men com- 
posing the Swiss Guard, were in charge of the defence 
of the palace. 

The king, desiring to avoid the shedding of blood, 
would not allow the Guard, to fire upon the crowd, but 
with the royal family fled for safety to the hall of the 
National Assembly. The Swiss Guard finding it im- 
possible to keep back the mob, who were pressing into 
the palace, at length fired, killing and wounding many 
of them. 

The rage of the people then knew no bounds ; and, 
being joined by the National Guard, they broke into 
the palace, and murdered all whom they found in it. 

This affair furnished a fresh charge against the king : 
the Swiss Guard were said to have fired by his orders, 
and thus the king was accused of making war upon his 
people. 

Seven hundred of the Swiss Guard were massacred; 
and the king and royal family were taken prisoners, and 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 2:3 

finally executed. Thus, the date upon the " Lion of 
Lucerne " marks not only the massacre of the Swiss 
Guard, and their loyalty to the Bourbons, but.it marks 
an important epoch in history, — the day upon which 
Louis XVI., King of France, really ceased to reign. 



16. TOM THUMB AND HAYDON. 

It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that poor Hay- 
don, the historical painter, was killed by Tom Thumb. 
In 1846 Haydon finished one of his six large historical 
pictures, called "The Banishment of Aristides," by the 
exhibition of which he hoped to relieve himself from 
debt. He engaged a room for the purpose in the 
Egyptian Hall, London ; and, very shortly after. Gen. 
Tom Thumb came to London, and exhibited himself 
under the same roof. 

The following was found recorded soon afterwards in 
Haydon's diary : " They rush by thousands to see Tom 
Thumb ; they see my bills, but do not read them." 

Two weeks after, he made his record in a few bitter 
words : "In one week, 12,000 persons have paid to see 
Tom Thumb, while only 133 have paid to see 'Aris- 
tides.' " 

In five weeks he closed his exhibition with a positive 
loss of more than a hundred pounds ; and then, in the 
midst of poverty and misery, he made his last entry : 
" O God ! let it not be presumptuous in me to ask thy 
blessing on my six works." 

He was found one morning in June prostrate before 
his picture. The pistol and the razor had ended his 
troubles. 



24 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

17. THE GREAT MOGUL. 

The greatest of the Mogul emperors of India was 
Akbar, born Oct. 14, 1542. He began to reign, when he 
was twelve years old, over three provinces only; but 
he extended his empire over nearly the whole of India. 
He showed such wisdom in ruling, and was so just to 
all in his decisions, that he was called "the Guardian 
of Mankind." His court at Agra was very magnificent. 
Many buildings of his time are still to be seen there, 
among them the fortress, within the walls of which are 
the palace of Shah Jehan, and the famous Pearl Mosque, 
so called on account of its wondrous beauty. Still more 
noted is the Taj Mahal (q.v.). 

The real name of Akbar was Jelal-ed-Deen ; but, 
when he became powerful, he was called Akbar, which 
in Arabic means very great, ox greatest ; so in English 
he became known as the. Great Mogul. He is said to 
have kept five thousand elephants, twelve thousand sta- 
ble-horses, and one thousand hunting-leopards. Akbar 
died in 1605, and was buried in a magnificent mausoleum 
at Sicandra near Agra, and was succeeded by his son. 

In 1525 Baber, a descendant of the great Mogul con- 
queror, Tamerlane, invaded Hindostan, overthrew the 
Afghan dynasty that had ruled in that country for three 
centuries, and became the founder of a dynasty of Mogul 
princes which ruled Hindostan for more than two cen- 
turies. The religion of the Moguls was Mohammedan ; 
and their capital was the city of Delhi, in Northern 
Hindostan. 

The English finally conquered the Mogul empire ; 
and in 1858 the last Mogul had his title taken from 
him because he took part in the great Indian mutiny 
against the English. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 25 



18. THE MIRACLE-PLAYS. 

These plays were founded on the historical parts of 
the Old and New Testaments and on the lives of the 
saints. They were performed at first in churches, and 
afterwards on platforms in the streets. Their design 
was to instruct the people in Bible history ; but, long be- 
fore the Reformation, they had so far departed from 
their original character as to bring contempt upon the 
Church and religion. The exhibition of a single play 
often occupied several days. The earliest recorded mir- 
acle-play took place in England in the beginning of the 
twelfth century ; but they soon became popular in 
France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. 

In England they received a check from the rise of 
the modern drama, yet they continued to be performed 
during the reigns of James I. and Charles I. 

Milton's first sketch of his " Paradise Lost " was a 
sacred drama. 

In Germany these plays, with one exception, were 
suppressed in the year 1779. 

The villagers of Oberammergau, in the Bavarian 
highlands, had, upon the cessation of a plague in 1633, 
vowed to perform "The Passion of Our Saviour" every 
tenth year, out of gratitude, and also as a means of in- 
struction to the people, — a vow which they had regu- 
larly observed. 

The pleading of a deputation of Oberammergau peas- 
ants with Maximilian Joseph of Bavaria saved their play 
from the general condemnation. 

The play was then remodelled, and is perhaps the only 
Mystery or Miracle Play that survives to the present 
day. The performance of it lasts for eight hours, with 
an intermission of one hour at noon ; and, though occur- 



26 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

ring only once in a decade, it is repeated on several 
Sundays in succession during the season. The char- 
acters in the play number about five hundred, and, from 
the oldest to the youngest, are exclusively the villagers 
of Oberammergau. The personator of the Saviour 
seems to regard the performance of his part as an act 
of religious worship ; and the other important actors are 
said to be selected for their holy life, and to be conse- 
crated to their work with prayer. 

The New Testament is strictly adhered to, the only 
legendary addition being the story of the handkerchief 
of St. Veronica." 

The acts alternate with tableaux from the Old Testa- 
ment, and with choral odes. 

Many of the tableaux vivants are perfect copies of 
celebrated pictures, as "The Last Supper," "The En- 
tombment," etc. 

Travellers from all parts of the world flock to Ober- 
ammergau during the time announced for its represen- 
tation ; and very many Protestants who expect to be 
disagreeably affected by the Passion Play, find it not at 
all irreverent, but very solemn and devotion-inspiring. 



19. LIKENESSES OF CHRIST. 

" In 1702 the late Rev. H. Rowlands, author of 'Mona 
Antiqua,' while superintending the removal of some 
stones near Aberfraw, Wales, for the purpose of making 
an antiquarian research, found a beautiful brass medal 
of our Saviour, in a fine state of preservation, which he 
forwarded to his friend and countryman, the Rev. E. 
Llwyd, author of the * Archaeologia Britannica,' and, at 
the time, keeper of the Ashmolean Library at Oxford. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 2/ 

" This medal has on one side the figure of a head ex- 
actly answering the description given by Publius Lcn- 
tulus of our Saviour, in a letter sent by him to the Em- 
peror Tiberius and the senate of Rome. On the reverse 
side it has the following inscription, written in Hebrew 
characters : — 

"'This is Jesus Christ the Mediator,' or 'Jesus the 
great Messias.' 

"Being found among the ruins of the chief Druids, 
resident in Anglesea, it is not improbable that the curi- 
ous relic belonged to some Christian connected with 
Bran the Blessed, who was one of the hostages of Carac- 
tacus at Rome from A.D. 52 to 59, at which time the 
apostle Paul was preaching the gospel of Christ at Rome. 
In two years afterwards, A.D. 61, the Roman General 
Suetonius extirpated all the Druids in the island. 

"The following is a translation of the letter referred 
to, a very antique copy of which is now in the posses- 
sion of the family of Kellie, — afterwards Lord Kellie, 
now represented by the Earl of Mar, a very ancient 
Scotch family, — taken from the original at Rome : — 

" ' There hath appeared in these our days, a man of great virtue, 
named Jesus Christ, who is yet living among us, and of the Gen- 
tiles is accepted as a Prophet, but his disciples call him the " Son 
of God." He raiseth the dead, and cures all manner of diseases ; 
a man of stature somewhat tall and comely, with very reverent coun- 
tenance, such as the beholders both love and fear; his hair the color 
of chestnut, full ripe, plain to his ears, whence downwards it is 
more Orient, curling and waving about his shoulders. 

"' In the midst of his head is a seam or a partition of his hair 
after the manner of the Nazarites; his forehead plain and very 
delicate ; his face without spot or wrinkle, beautified with a most 
lovely red ; his nose and mouth so formed that nothing can be rep- 
rehended ; his beard thickish, in color like his hair, not very long 
but forked ; his look, innocent and mature ; his eyes, gray, clear 
and quick. In reproving he is terrible ; in admonishing, courte- 



28 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

ous, and fair spoken ; pleasant in conversation, mixed with gravity. 
It cannot be remarked that any one saw him laugh, but many have 
seen him weep. In proportion of body, most excellent ; his hands 
and arms most delicate to behold. In speaking, very temperate, 
modest, and wise. A man, for his singular beauty, surpassing the 
children of men ! ' 

"The representation of this sacred person, which is in 
the Bodleian Library, somewhat resembles that of the 
print of this medal, when compared together. It was 
taken from a likeness engraved in agate, and sent as a 
present from the sultan for the release of his brother, 
who was taken prisoner. 

"There is a well-executed drawing of this at the 
Mostyn Library, much worse for age." 

On a photograph by Messrs. McClean & Co., London, 
is printed the following : — 

" The following extract in proof of the authenticity of the above 
portrait is translated from the Latin contemporary historians of 
the period. 'The only true likeness of our Saviour, taken from one 
cut on an emerald by command of Tiberius Caesar, and was given 
from the Treasury of Constantinople by the Emperor of the Turks 
to Pope Innocent VIII. for the redemption of his brother, then a 
captive of the Christians.' " 



20. INUNDATION OF THE NILE. 

The fruitfulness of Egypt is caysed entirely by the 
annual overflowing of the Nile, known to the natives as 
Hapi Mil, "the genius of the waters." When the pe- 
riodical rains of the tropics have swollen the water- 
source, and the reservoirs of the two lakes can contain 
no more, the stream begins to rise, and continues to 
swell for three months, from the middle of June until 
the middle of September. When July comes, the river 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 29 

has already overflowed its shores. In August, when it 
has nearly reached its highest point, about twenty-five 
feet above its normal height, the dams are opened, and 
the overflow of the stream is carried into the canals, 
with which human industry had, even in ancient times, 
intersected the country, that the water may be carried 
to distant localities. The Lower Nile for six hundred 
miles has scarcely a single tributary rivulet. At this 
time the country has the appearance of a lake, the 
towns and hilly spots appearing like so many islands. 

Numerous boats are in use during the flood ; and the 
whole population, festively adorned, celebrate the joyful 
time with delight. Egypt has been well called " the 
gift of the Nile.!' 

When the tropical rains are over, the stream returns 
gradually to its proper level, leaving behind it every- 
where, in the shape of slimy mud, the fertilizing soil it 
has swept down from the mountain regions. In Octo- 
ber the land dries, seed is planted, and quickly the green 
shoots give the country the appearance of a garden. 

The time of growth lasts until the end of February : 
in March the harvest is reaped. 

Then follow three months of drought, during which 
the Nile is at its lowest level ; and each year the life- 
giving stream begins its course anew in the month of 
June. 

It is only very lately that full light has been thrown, 
by the expeditions of Speke and Baker, upon the true 
source of the Nile and the cause of its annual overflow. 
It is the efflux of two large lakes situated in a high 
table-land near the equator, called the Victoria Nyansa 
and the Albert Nyanza. The waters of both lakes rise 
during the rainy season above their banks, and, pass' 
ing northward, finally unite to form the Nile. 



30 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

The high-lying country on the Victoria Nyanza, 
whence the Nile obtains its chief tributaries, is one of 
the most picturesque and salubrious localities in the 
world, and must before long be opened to Western 
civilization and development. 



21. A NOTED WARRIOR V^HO LED" HIS TROOPS INTO 
BATTLE AFTER HIS DEATH. 

The history of Roderigo Diaz the Cid Campeador (or 
"Lord Champion"), the noted Spanish warrior, is so 
intermingled with fable, that it is almost impossible to 
sift out the truth. 

One of the oldest poems in the Spanish language, the 
epic " Poem of the Cid " (q.v.), gives a long account 
of him, and of his battles against the Moors. 

From this poem, and other Spanish works, Southey 
translated and compiled his " Chronicle of the Cid." 

The Cid is supposed to have been born about the 
year 1026, and to have died at Valencia, 1099. His real 
name was Ruy or Rodrigo Diaz : but he was sue li a 
terror to the Moors, and seemed so superior tc all 
others, that they called him El Seid (Arabic for the 
Lord) ; and he was finally called Cid Campeador (Lord 
Champion). 

In the eleventh book of the " Chronicle of the Cid," 
Southey relates that after the Cid had won Valencia 
from the Moors, and had held possession of it for five 
years (during which time the Moors and Christians had 
lived peaceably together), tidings reached him that King 
Bucar of Morocco, whom he had conquered, was coming 
to take his revenge with thirty-six Moorish kings and 
an army so great that it could not be nu'tribered. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 3 1 

The Cid at once began to devise measures for with- 
standing this great force : his first act was to banish the 
MoOrs from Valencia until the result of the invasion 
should be known. The same night he had a vision, in 
which St. Peter appeared to him, saying, " Sleepest thou, 
Rodrigo, or what art thou doing .'' " And the Cid made 
answer, "What man art thou who askest me.''" And he 
said, "I am St. Peter, the Prince of the apostles, who 
come unto thee with more urgent tidings than those for 
which thou art taking thought concerning King Bucar ; 
and it is, that thou art to leave this world, and go to 
that which hath no end ; and this will be in thirty days. 
But God will show favor unto thee, so that thy people 
shall discomfort King Bucar, and thou, being dead, shalt 
win this battle." . . . 

This vision had great effect upon the Cid ; and he was 
"as certain that all this would come to pass, as if it 
were already over." So great was his faith, that, on 
the twenty-ninth day, he assembled his people, and 
spoke to them as follows : " Ye know that King Bucar 
will presently be here to besiege this city, with seven 
and thirty kings whom he bringeth with him, and with 
a mighty power of Moors. Now, therefore, the first 
thing which ye do after I am departed, wash my body 
with rose-water many times and well. And when it 
has been well washed and made clean, ye shall dry it 
well, and anoint it with myrrh and balsam, from these 
golden caskets, from head to foot, so that every part 
shall be anointed, till none be left. And you. Dona 
Ximena, and your women, see that ye utter no cries, 
neither make any lamentation for me, that the Moors 
may not know of my death. And when the day shall 
come in which King Bucar arrives, order all the people 
of Valencia to go upon the walls, and sound your 



32 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

trumpets and tambours, and make the greatest re- 
joicings that ye can. And when ye would set out for 
Castille, let all the people know in secret, that they 
make themselves ready, and take with them all that 
they have, so that none of the Moors in the suburb 
may know thereof ; for certes ye cannot keep the city, 
neither abide therein after my death. . . , Then saddle 
ye my horse Bavieca, and arm him well ; and ye shall 
apparel my body full seemlily, and place me upon the 
horse, and fasten and tie me thereon so that it cannot 
fall ; and fasten my sword Tizona in my hand. And let 
the Bishop Don Hieronymo go on one side of me, and 
my trusty Gil Diaz on the other, and he shall lead my 
horse. You, Pero Bermudez, shall bear my banner, as 
you were wont to bear it ; and you, Alvar Fanez, my 
cousin, gather your company together, and put your host 
in order as you are wont to do. And go ye forth and 
fight with King Bucar, for be ye certain and doubt not 
that ye shall win this battle: God hath granted me 
this." 

According to "The Chronicle," the Cid, having ap- 
pointed what should be done after his death, on the 
morning of the thirtieth day made his testament, re- 
ceived the sacrament, "yielded up his soul, which was 
pure and without spot, to God, on that Sunday which 
is called Quinquagesima, being the twenty and ninth of 
May, in the year of our Lord one thousand and ninety 
and nine, and in the seventy and third year of his life." 

Three days after the death of the Cid, King Bucar 
and his countless host of Moors arrived, and encamped 
in "fifteen thousand tents" about Valencia. While 
they were busy preparing bastilles and engines where- 
with to combat the city, the Christians were preparing 
to carry out the directions of the Cid. Gil Diaz had 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 33 

embalmed the body, and placed it in a frame upon the 
saddle. On the twelfth day after his death, v\^en all 
else was in readiness, "The Chronicle" goes on to re- 
late, " they took the body of the Cid, fastened to the 
saddle as it was, upon his horse Bavieca, and fastened 
the saddle well ; and the body sate so upright and well 
it seemed as if he was alive ; . . . and his shield was 
hung round his neck, and they placed the sword Tizona 
in his hand, and they raised his arm, and fastened it up 
so subtilly that it was a marvel to see how upright he 
held his sword. And when all this had been made 
ready, they went out from Valencia at midnight, through 
the gate Roseros which is towards Castille. Pero Ber- 
mudez went first with the banner of the Cid, and with 
him five hundred knights who guarded it, all well ap- 
pointed. And after these came all the baggage. Then 
came the body of the Cid with an hundred knights, 
all chosen men, and behind them Dona Ximena with all 
her company, and six hundred knights in the rear. 
All these went out so silently, and with such a meas- 
ured pace, that it seemed as if there were only a score. 
And by the time that they had all gone out it was 
broad day. . . . Now Alvar Fanez Minaya had set the 
host in order, and attacked the tents which lay nearest 
the city ; and this onset was so sudden, that they killed 
full a hundred and fifty Moors before they had time to 
take arms ; . . . and so great was the uproar and con- 
fusion, that few there were who took arms, but instead 
thereof turned their backs and fled towards the sea. 
And when King Bucar and his kings saw this they were 
astonished. And it seemed to them that there came 
against them on the part of the Christians full seventy 
thousand knights, all as white as snow : and before 
them a Knight of great stature upon a white horse with 



34 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

a bloody cross, who bore in one hand a white banner, 
and in the other a sword which seemed to be of fire, 
and he made a great mortahty among the Moors who 
were flying. And King Bucar and the other kings were 
so greatly dismayed that they never checked the reins 
till they had ridden into the sea ; and the company of 
the Cid rode after them, smiting and slaying and giving 
no respite ; and they smote down so many that it was 
marvellous, for the Moors did not turn their heads to 
defend themselves. And when they came to the sea, 
so great was the press among them to get to the ships, 
that more than ten thousand died in the water. And 
of the six and thirty kings, twenty and two were slain. 
And King Bucar and they who escaped with him hoisted 
sails and went their way, and never more turned their 
heads. . . . And so great was the spoil of that day, 
that . . . the poorest man among the Christians be- 
came rich. . . . And when they were all met together, 
they took the road towards Castille." Thus was ful- 
filled the prophecy of the Vision, — "Thou being dead 
shalt win this battle." 



22. THE "REBECCA" OF IVANHOE. 

Sir Walter Scott's model for this character was a 
young lady, Rebecca Gratz by name, of an honorable 
Jewish family of Philadelphia. 

She was born on the 4th of March, 1781, and in her 
younger days, and even beyond middle life, possessed 
singular beauty. She was noted for her benevolent and 
charitable life, and for her devotion to the Jewish faith. 

One of the most intimate friends of her family was 
Washino^ton Irvins: ; and it is throusfh him that her 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 35 

goodness, and steadfast devotion to the religion of her 
forefathers, have been handed down to us in the hero- 
ine of Scott's beautiful novel. 

It was in the fall of 18 17 that Scott and Irving met 
for the first time. With a letter of introduction from 
the poet Campbell, who was aware of Scott's high 
estimate of Irving's genius, the latter visited Abbots- 
ford, and there spent several of the most delightful days 
of his life. 

During one of their many conversations, Irving spoke 
of his friend Rebecca Gratz of Philadelphia, described 
her wonderful beauty, and related the story of her firm 
adherence to her religious faith. 

Scott was deeply interested and impressed, and con- 
ceived the plan of embodying a character like hers in 
one of his novels. Shortly after this he wrote " Ivan- 
hoe," and named his heroine " Rebecca." When the 
book was published, in December, 18 19, he immediately 
sent the first copy to Irving ; and in the letter accom- 
panying it he asked, " How do you like your Rebecca } 
Does the Rebecca I have pictured compare well with 
the pattern given .? " 

After living a noble life. Miss Gratz died on the 
twenty-seventh day of August, 1869, at the age of 
eighty-eight. 



23. THE BAYEUX TAPESTRY. 

This celebrated antique tapestry — called Bayeux 
from the place where it is preserved — is a pictorial his- 
tory on canvas, more minute in some particulars than 
the written history, of the invasion and conquest of 
England by the Normans in 1066. 

Tradition asserts it to be the work of Matilda — wife 



36 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

of William the Conqueror — and the ladies of her court, 
and to have been presented by the queen to the cathe- 
dral of Bayeux, Normandy, as a token of her apprecia- 
tion of the assistance which its bishop, Odo, rendered 
to her husband at the battle of Hastings. 

This tapestry is a web of canvas or linen cloth two 
hundred and fourteen feet long by twenty inches wide : 
upon it the history of "The Conquest" is worked in 
woollen thread of various colors. It was annually ex- 
hibited on St. John's Day, around the nave of the 
church. 

When Napoleon contemplated the invasion of Eng- 
land in 1803, he caused this record to be removed to 
Paris, and exhibited in the National Museum, after 
which it was returned to Bayeux. 

The exhibition of this tapestry in the National Mu- 
seum awakened public curiosity concerning it, and the 
truth of the tradition was then established. The tap- 
estry is divided into seventy-two distinct compartments, 
each representing one particular historical occurrence, 
and bearing an explanatory Latin inscription. 

According to Mr. Bruce, the latest authority on the 
subject, the tapestry contains, besides, the figures of 
505 various quadrupeds, birds, sphinxes, etc., the figures 
of 623 men, 202 horses, 55 dogs, 37 buildings, 41 ships 
and boats, and 49 trees — in all, 1,512 figures, and only 
three women. The Bayeux Tapestry would have been 
destroyed during the French Revolution, had not a 
priest succeeded in concealing it from the mob, who 
demanded it as covering for their guns. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 37 

24. "PERFECTION NO TRIFLE." 

A friend once called upon Michael Angelo while he 
was finishing a statue : some time afterward he called 
again ; the sculptor was still at the same work : his 
friend, looking at the figure, exclaimed, " You have been 
idle since I saw you last!" — "By no means," replied 
the sculptor. "I have retouched this part, and polished 
that ; I have softened this feature, and brought out 
this muscle ; I have given more expression to this lip, 
and more energy to this limb." — " Well, well," said his 
friend; "but all these are trifles." — "It may be so," 
replied Angelo ; " but recollect, that trifles make per- 
fection, and that perfection is no trifle." 



25. LAST BATTLE FOUGHT ON THE SOIL OF GREAT 
BRITAIN. 

While George II. of England was engaged in the 
war of the "Austrian Succession," Charles Edward 
(called the "Young Pretender"), a grandson of King 
James II. of England, landed in Scotland, and made two 
attempts to obtain the throne of his ancestors. He 
was victorious in the battle of Falkirk ; but the Duke 
of Cumberland, son of George II., having been recalled 
from the Continent to take command of the king's 
forces, the Pretender was entirely defeated at Culloden 
Moor, a plain in Scotland, four miles from Inverness. 
This was the last battle fought on the island of Great 
Britain (April 16, 1746), and it was also the last at- 
tempt on the part of the Stuart family to recover the 
throne of Great Britain. 

Charles Edward Stuart escaped to France after he 
had wandered for five months in the Highlands, pur- 



38 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

sued by his enemies. He died in Rome, Jan. 30, 
1788. 

The Duke of Cumberland gave no quarter. The 
wounded were all slain ; and the jails of England were 
filled with prisoners, many of whom were executed. 
Among the latter number were Lords Balmerino, Kil- 
marnock, and Lovat, — Lovat being the last person who 
was beheaded in England. 



26. THE CHAIR OF IDRIS. 

On the very summit of Cader-Idris (a mountain 
peak in Merionethshire, Wales) is an excavation in 
the solid rock, resembling a couch. It is said to be the 
chair of Idris the giant, after whom the mountain was 
named. Tradition says, that whoever rests for a night 
in this seat will be found the next morning either dead, 
or a raving maniac, or endued with supernatural powers. 
This excavation is probably the " Chair of Idris " to 
which Tennyson refers in " Enid," where Geraint 
says, — 

" He felt, were she the prize of bodily force. 
Himself beyond the rest pushing could move 
The chair of Idris," 

as it is situated in what is supposed to have been King 
Arthur's territory, and as Geraint was a knight of his 
court. 



27. HISTORY OF THE STRASBOURG CLOCK. 

This famous astronomical clock stands in the south 
transept of the Strasbourg Cathedral. 

It was constructed by Schwilgue, a celebrated Stras- 
bourg mechanic, between the years 1838 and 1842, to 
replace an older clock made in 1574. 




CATHEDRAL OF STRASBOURG 
Curious Questions. I 'ol. I. , page 38. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 39 

It comprises a number of complicated devices, to 
show the astronomical changes of the year. It con- 
tains a perpetual calendar, which shows also the feasts 
that vary from year to year on account of their connec- 
tion with Easter Sunday. The phases of the moon 
and the eclipses of the sun and moon are calculated for 
all time. True time and sidereal time are also indi- 
cated, besides many other astronomical changes. Pre- 
cisely at a quarter to twelve, an angel standing on the 
topmost gallery of the clock strikes the third quarter 
on a bell. When the hands point to twelve, one of 
the genii reverses an hour-glass, and Death strikes the 
hour. Beneath are the figures of Childhood, Youth, 
Manhood, and Old Age. Under the first gallery, Sat- 
urn, the symbolic deity of the day, steps out from a 
niche. Then the figures of the twelve apostles come 
out on the gallery, while two doors flying open reveal 
the Saviour standing in a little temple. Each of the 
apostles passes in turn before Him, bowing low as he 
passes ; and over each the Lord raises His ..hands in 
blessing. As St. Peter passes, a cock crows thrice, 
and the Devil looks after him with a hideous grin : this 
spectacle takes place only at noon. Three clocks of 
this character have stood in the same place, but this 
is the most nearly perfect of them all. An interesting 
legend is connected with the second clock, which was 
constructed far back in the Middle Ages. 

" The maker was an ingenious mechanic, but a very simple- 
hearted old man. He had a daughter, whose hand was sought by 
one of the magistrates of the town, — a rich, miserly man: but 
the heart of the maiden was already given to her father's young 
apprentice, who had rendered the mechanic great service in the 
construction of his clock ; and the old man had promised that the 
marriage might take place as soon as the clock was finished. 
Thus encouraged, the apprentice worked so zealously that the 



40 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

clock was soon completed. The old man wept for joy at the suc- 
cess of his labor. Everybody came to see it, and the city author- 
ities bought it for the cathedral. Then the lovers were married. 

" The fame of the clock soon spread far and wide ; and the city 
of Basel, Switzerland, ordered another just like it. This aroused 
the jealousy of the magistrates ; and, sending for the old mechanic, 
they tried to extort a promise from him that he would never dupli- 
cate this masterpiece for any other town. ' I will make no such 
promise,' said the clock-maker. ' Heaven gave me not my talents 
to feed your vain ambition.' Then the magistrate who had been 
rejected by the old man's daughter persuaded his colleagues to 
put out the old man's eyes. The clock-maker heard the sentence 
with fortitude, only requesting that his sentence might be executed 
in the presence of his beloved work. His request was granted : 
he was carried before the clock, where he stood gazing at it fondly. 
'But one touch remains to complete my work,' said the old man; 
and he busied himself a moment among the wheels of the clock. 
Then he stepped back, and submitted himself to the executioner, 
who quickly deprived him of his sight. At the same moment a 
crash was heard, and the works of the clock fell into a mass of 
ruins. The old man had removed the mainspring; and the works, 
suddenly released from control, had destroyed themselves. 

" His revenge was complete, for there was no one that could 
restore the wonderful piece of mechanism. 

" The people then turned upon the cruel magistrate, and with 
blows and curses drove him from the church." 

The clock remained a ruin until 1842, when parts of 
it were used by Schwilgue to construct the present 
one. 



28. GREEK FIRE.' 



During the reign of Constantine III., the Saracens 
besieged the city of Constantinople for five months, 
but were then obliged to retire. 

They returned seven times during as many succes- 

' See Gibbon, early sieges of Constantinople, for its use, etc. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 4 1 

sive years, but were each time repulsed by Callimachus, 
who, in 688, invented an inextinguishable fire by which 
he destroyed their ships. 

This Greek or liquid fire was made principally of 
naphtha or liquid bitumen, mixed with some sulphur 
and pitch extracted from green firs. Water, instead 
of extinguishing, quickened this powerful agent of de- 
struction, which nothing but sand, wine, or vinegar 
could check. For four hundred years the Greeks kept 
the secret of its composition, but the Mohammedans 
at length discovered and used it. 

This fire remained in use until the middle of the 
fourteenth century, when it was superseded by gun- 
powder. 



29. A KING EXHIBITED IN AN IRON CAGE. 

Bajazet I. was sultan of the Ottoman Turks in 1389. 
He was called Ilderim (the Lightning) on account of 
his rapid successes in the war. He made all of Asia 
Minor a part of his dominion, conquered what is now 
called Turkey in Europe, overran Greece, Hungary, 
etc. He seemed invincible until Tamerlane of Timour 
defeated him, and took him prisoner in the great battle 
of Angora. 

Timour was one of the greatest soldiers that ever 
lived. No one man ever conquered so large a portion 
of the world, or ruled over so many conquered people. 

After the battle of Angora, Bajazet being asked by 
Tamerlane how he would have treated him had their 
lots been reversed, " Like a dog," he replied. " I would 
have made you my footstool when I mounted my saddle ; 
&nd when your services were not needed, I would have 
chained you in a cage like a wild beast." Tamerlane 



42 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

replied, "Then, to show you the difference of my spirit, 
I shall treat you as a king." 

So saying, he ordered his chains to be struck off, 
gave him one of the royal tents, and promised to re- 
store him to his throne if he would lay aside his hos- 
tility. Bajazet abused this noble generosity, and plotted 
the assassination of Tamerlane. 

Finding clemency of no avail, Tamerlane commanded 
him to be "treated as a dog," to be "chained in a cage 
like a wild beast," and in this condition was compelled 
to accompany the victorious army of Tamerlane. 



30. THE "EIKON BASILIKfi." 

The " Eikon Basilike " (" Royal Image ") was a book 
for many years supposed to have been written by Charles 
I. of England, during his imprisonment on the Isle of 
Wight. It is now known to have been written by Dr. 
Gauden, Bishop of Exeter (1605-1662). The manuscript 
copy was put into the hands of the publisher, Richard 
Royston, on the 23d of December, 1648. Whether any 
copies were printed by the 30th of the following month, 
the day when Charles I. was executed, is doubtful ; but 
there is no doubt that it was largely in circulation soon 
afterwards, and that it produced a powerful effect upon 
the Royalists, strengthening their doctrine in the divine 
right of kings, most of them believing that the king 
himself wrote it. 

This work was the chief means of obtaining for 
Charles I. the designation of the " Royal • Martyr," 
and to it has been attributed also the Restoration. 

M. Guizot, in his history of the events of those times, 
says, "The manuscript had probably been read, per- 
haps even corrected, by Charles himself, during his resi- 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 43 

dence in the Isle of Wight. In any case, it was the real 
expression and true portraiture of his position, character, 
and mind, as they had been formed by misfortune." 

Nearly fifty thousand copies of it were sold within 
a year in England alone, and it did not fail to excite a 
deep interest in the faithful adherents of the House of 
Stuart : it also produced a general tendency among his 
avowed opponents to forget the faults of the unfortu- 
nate king, and to recall his virtues. The Government 
becoming alarmed at the effect of it upon the public 
mind, desired Milton to write an answer to the " Eikon 
Basilike," with the view of showing, that, whether writ- 
ten by the king or not, its political reasonings were 
invalid. Milton accepted the duty, and wrote what 
became one of his most celebrated works, called the 
" Eikonoklastes " (" Image-breaker "), more frequently 
spelled Iconoclastes. 

The question of the authorship of the " Eikon Basi- 
like" was long a matter of literary discussion ; and in the 
last century we find Hume, in his History of England, 
advocating the claims of the king to the authorship, in 
preference to those of Dr. Gauden. 

Numerous copies of the " Eikon Basilike " are pre- 
served in public and private libraries in England : these 
copies have verses, written on the fly-leaves during the 
troubled period of the Commonwealth, showing that the 
grief of the people was deep and sincere, and that they 
considered the work to be "A Faithful Portraiture of 
his Sacred Majesty in his Solitudes and Sufferings." 

According to Hume, "it must be acknowledged the 
best prose composition which, at the time of its compo- 
sition, was to be found in the English language." The 
bitter vein and scurrilous tone of the " Iconoclastes " 
has been considered a spot on Milton's fame. 



44 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

31. THE ROPE OF OCNUS. 

"The Rope of Ocnus " is the name of a celebrated 
picture painted by Polygnotus, a distinguished Greek 
painter who died about 426 B.C. He was the first who 
gave life, character, and expression to painting. Ac- 
cording to Pliny, he opened the mouth, and showed the 
teeth of his figures : he was the first to paint women 
with transparent drapery and with rich head-dresses. 

Ocnus was the name of a poor but industrious Greek, 
whose extravagant wife spent his money as fast as he 
earned it. He complained to Polygnotus of his trials 
and tribulations in this respect, and Polygnotus painted 
the picture alluded to above. 

The picture represents a poor man weaving a rope 
out of straw, while behind him stands an ass eating 
off the other end of the rope. The silent lesson con- 
veyed by the picture is said to have had the desired 
effect upon the wife of Ocnus, and by her frugality and 
thrift she enabled him soon to rise from obscurity to 
great prosperity. 

The phrase, like "the rope of Ocnus," signifies profit- 
less labor. 



32. ORIGIN OF LIFTING THE HAT. 

The custom of lifting the hat had its origin during 
the age of chivalry, when it was customary for knights 
never to appear in public except in full armor. 

It became a custom, however, for a knight, upon en- 
tering an assembly of friends, to remove his helmet, 
signifying, " I am safe in the presence of friends." 

The age of chivalry passed away with the fifteenth 
century ; but among the many acts of courtesy which 



CURIOUS QUESTfONS. 45 

can be traced back to its influence, none is more direct 
in its origin than that of lifting the hat to acknowledge 
the Dresence of a friend. 



33. THE INCAS. 

The origin of the Incas, the native rulers of Peru, is 
purely traditional. We have no authorities on the sub- 
ject save the traditions of the Indians, gathered by the 
early Spaniards. From these traditions, it appears that 
Manco was the name of the first Inca (Child of the 
Sun). 

He founded the city of Cuzco, instructed the men in 
agriculture and the arts, gave them a comparatively 
pure religion, and a social and natural organization ; 
while his wife taught the women to sew, to spin, and to 
weave. Thus the Inca was not only the ruler of his 
people, but also the father and high priest. 

After introducing wise laws among his people, and 
ruling over them for forty years, " he ascended to his 
father the Sun ; " the year generally assigned as that 
of his death being A.D. 1062. 

The progress of the Peruvians was slow : they in- 
vented no alphabet, and could therefore keep no written 
records. Thus it is that we have no exact history of 
the Incas farther back than about one hundred years 
before the conquest of the country by the Spaniards in 
the sixteenth century. 

Three distinct historical eras are manifested in Peru. 
The Pre-Incarial period, of unknown duration, during 
which a highly civilized people lived in large cities, had 
a language and a religion more advanced than even 
those of the Incas who succeeded them. Whence 



46 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

these people came, and to what branch of the human 
family they belonged, still remain unanswered questions. 
'Their existence, however, is clearly attested by vast 
architectural remains. 

Then follows the period of the Incas, which attained 
its greatest extent and the height of its glory when 
Huayna Capac ascended the throne, in 1475. 

About the year 15 16, and ten years before the death 
of Huayna Capac, the first white man landed on the 
western shore of South America ; but it was not until 
the year 1532, that Pizarro, at the head of a small band 
of Spanish adventurers, invaded and conquered Peru. 
From that date to the present may be considered the 
third historical era of Peru. Atahualpa was the last 
Inca of Peru : when his father, the Inca Huayna Capac, 
died, he left his throne to his eldest son, Huascar, and 
gave Atahualpa the government of Quito, of which his 
mother had been princess. This division of the empire 
led to civil war; and, after a long and bloody struggle, 
Huascar was taken prisoner, and Atahualpa became 
Inca. 

It was at about this time that Pizarro invaded Peru ; 
and Atahualpa ordered that he should be treated kindly, 
and gave him quarters in one of his cities. 

A meeting between the two having been arranged, 
Atahualpa approached the Spanish camp with a retinue 
of unarmed followers, when he was treacherously seized 
by Pizarro, and thrown into prison. 

Atahualpa offered as his ransom to fill the room in 
which he was confined as high as he could reach with 
gold. Pizarro accepted the ransom; but, while the 
Peruvians were bringing in the gold from all parts, 
he was plotting to kill the Inca, and seize his vast 
treasure. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 47 

At length, when the ransom was paid, and Atahualpa 
demanded his liberty, Pizarro refused to grant it, falsely 
accusing him of plotting against the Spaniards. 

After much base treachery on the part of Pizarro, 
Atahualpa was brought to a mock trial, and condemned 
to be burned ; but, upon his consenting to be baptized, 
the sentence was commuted to strangulation, Aug. 29, 
1533. This most romantic history has been given by 
William H. Prescott in his " Conquest of Peru." 



34. THE VEILED PROPHET OF KHORASSAN. 

Hakim Ben Allah, called Mokanna the Veiled, was 
the founder of an Arabic sect in the eighth century, 
during the reign of Mahadi at Meru in Khorassan. 

He commenced his extraordinary career as a common 
soldier, but soon rose to be commander of a band of his 
own. 

An arrow pierced one of his eyes ; and, to hide this 
deformity, he always wore a veil. 

Hakim finally set himself up as God ; he assumed to 
have been Adam, Noah, and other wise men of various 
times ; and now he had taken the human form of the 
Prince of Khorassan. 

He was well versed in the arts of magic, and pro- 
duced some startling effects of light and color. 

Among other miracles, for one week, to the delight 
and bewilderment of his soldiers, he caused a moon to 
issue from a deep well. So brilliant was this luminary, 
that the real moon paled beside it. 

Hakim had many followers, and was soon able to 
seize several fortified cities. 

The Sultan Mahadi marched against him, and after 



48. CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

a long siege took his last stronghold. Upon that, Ha- 
kim, having first poisoned his soldiers with wine at a 
banquet, threw himself into a vessel filled with a burn- 
ing acid of such a nature that his body was dissolved, 
nothing but a few hairs remaining. 

He wished to leave the impression that he had as- 
cended bodily into heaven. 

Some remnants of this heresy still exist. 

Hakim has been made the subject of m.any romances, 
of which the one by Moore in his " Lalla Rookh" is 
the most brilliant and best known. 



35. SIX FAMOUS DIAMONDS. 

Large diamonds, like first-class pictures, have a Euro- 
pean valuation ; because they are few in number, are 
not susceptible of reproduction, are everywhere prized, 
and can be bought only by the very wealthy. 

Only six large diamonds, called paragons, are known, 
the largest of which, the "Grand Mogul," is in the 
possession of the Shah of Persia, weighing, after being 
cut, 280 carats. Next in size follows the " Orloff " 
diamond, named from Count Orloff, who bought it in 
1772 for the Empress Catharine of Russia. It was 
once the eye of an idol in India. A Frenchman, who 
happened to see it, made a glass one like it, and, watch- 
ing his chance, put it in the place of the diamond, with 
which he ran away. 

He sold the diamond to the captain of a ship for 
$10,000: the captain took it to Europe, and sold it for 
$100,000. At last it came into the hands of a diamond- 
merchant, who sold it to Count Orloff for $450,000 in 
money, and a yearly payment during his life of $20,000. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 49 

The empress also conferred upon the merchant a title 
of nobility. This stone, rose-cut, is shaped like half a 
l)igeon's tg^, and weighs 195 carats. It adorns the 
point of the sceptre of the Emperor of Russia. 

The "Regent," or "Pitt Diamond," one of the 
French crown-jewels, is the next in size. It was found 
in India, and is sometimes called the " Pitt " diamond 
from Mr. Pitt, Governor of Madras, India, who bought 
it in 1702 for ;^ioo,ooo. It gets its name "Regent" 
from the fact that the Duke of Orleans, acting as regent 
for Louis XV. of France, bought it for him at a cost 
of ^650,000. It is said to be worth twice that sum 
now, and is accounted the most perfect brilliant-cut 
diamond in the world. The time occupied in cutting it 
was two years, during which time diamond powder to 
the value of ;!^850 was used. 

The " Florentine " or " Austrian " diamond, the fourth 
in size, weighs 139 carats. 

This was one of the three great diamonds belonging 
to Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and lost by 
him at the battle of Granson in 1476. It was found 
by a Swiss peasant, who sold it to a priest for half a 
crown. The priest sold it for ;^200 to Bartholomew 
May of Berne. It subsequently came into the hands of 
Pope Julius II., and the Pope gave it to the Emperor 
of Austria. 

The " Star of the South," next in size, was found by 
a negro in Brazil in 1853. After it had been cut at 
Amsterdam, it was bought by the Earl of Dudley, 
whence it is known also as the " Dudley " diamond. It 
weighed 254^ carats when found : after cutting, its 
weight was 126 carats. 

The English "Kohinoor" ("Mountain of Light") has 
attached to it quite a romantic history. It was found 



50 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

in the mines of Golconda, how many ages ago no one 
can tell ; but the Hindoos, who are fond of high num- 
bers, say that it belonged to Kama, King of Anga, 
three thousand years ago. Viewed within more moder- 
ate limits, this diamond is said to have been stolen 
from one of the kings of Golconda by a treacherous 
general named Minizola, and by him presented to the 
Great Mogul, Shah Jehan, father of Aurung-Zebe, about 
the year 1640. 

It was then in a rough state, and weighed, it is said, 
800 carats, but was reduced to 279 carats by the awk- 
wardness of the cutter. When Tavernier, the French 
traveller, was in India about two hundred years ago, he 
saw the '' Kohinoor," and on his return told of the 
immense wonderment and admiration with which it was 
regarded in that country. 

After his time the treasure changed hands frequently 
among the princes of India, generally through fraud 
or violence. 

Early in the present century its possessor was the 
Khan of Cabul, from whom it was treacherously ob- 
tained by a slave, and passed into the possession of 
Runjeet Singh, thence to his successors on the throne 
of ^ Lahore, India. When Punjaub was conquered by 
the English in 1850, the "Kohinoor" was included 
among the spoils ; and on the 6th of April, 1850, the 
" Kohinoor " left India, to pass into the hands of Vic- 
toria, Queen of England, and who has been lately made 
Empress of India. 

Col. Mackesan and Capt. Ramsey were intrusted to 
convey it to England in the " Media," as a present 
from the East-India Company. The court jeweller 
was employed to recut it, to increase its brilliancy ; 
and as a mark of honor the Duke of Wellinsfton was 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 5 I 

allowed to give the first touch to the work. It now 
weighs only 106 carats, but is regarded as far more 
dazzling and beautiful than at any previous time in its 
history. 

While in size and weight it ranks the sixth diamond, 
in value it ranks as the highest in the world, its present 
valuation being ^2,000,000. 

Diamonds are generally considered the most precious 
of all stones, but this is a mistake. 

A fine ruby of one carat is worth ^450 ; a sapphire, 
;^30o; a diamond, ^150. 

Diamonds are, however, of more value for their use 
in art, since only a diamond can cut a diamond. 

The Amsterdam firm of J. Metz is now busy with 
the erection of a special workshop, in which the cut- 
ting of a diamond — the largest in the world — is soon 
to begin. This diamond, which has recently been found 
in South Africa, weighs 475 carats, and is said to be 
greatly superior in color and brilliancy to all the other 
famous diamonds of the world. 



36. A ROLAND FOR AN OLIVER. 

Roland and Oliver were the most famous of the 
twelve paladins of Charlemagne. 

Roland, the nephew of Charlemagne, is the hero of 
Ariosto's epic poem called " Orlando Furioso," Orlando 
being the Italian form of the name. He is there rep- 
resented as being eight feet high, and well proportioned. 

Oliver was also a knight celebrated for his exploits, 
and was so nearly a match for Roland that they finally 
engaged m single combat on an island in the Rhine. 
They fought for five successive days without either 



52 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

gaining the advantage ; so that the expression, " a Ro- 
land for an OHver," means a blow for a blow, a retort 
for a retort, or a quid pro quo. 

History tells us, that in yj^, when Charlemagne was 
busily engaged in organizing the recently subjugated 
pagan Saxons, and superintending their collective bap- 
tism and entrance into the Christian Church, he was 
visited by a Saracen chief who offered to put the 
Prankish sovereign in possession of several towns 
south of the Pyrenees Mountains. 

Charlemagne accepted the offer, and marched with 
a large army through the territory ; but, finding that 
the Saracen had betrayed him, he gave orders to return 
to France. 

It was during the retreat, while the Christian army 
was slowly threading its way through the narrow valley 
of Roncesvalles, that Roland, commanding the rear 
guard, was suddenly surrounded by an immense army 
of the enemy, who had been lying in ambush, and was 
slain. 

Roland, according to tradition, possessed an en- 
chanted horn, which could be heard at a distance of 
thirty miles. 

With this horn he could have called his uncle to his 
rescue ; but he refused to use it until one hundred thou- 
sand of the Saracens lay dead, and but fifty of his 
twenty thousand men remained to aid him. 

After he was mortally wounded, he blew one blast 
on his horn (Olifant), and threw his enchanted sword 
(Durandal) into a stream. Charlemagne heard the 
blast, and returned, but was too late to rescue his 
nephew. 

The oldest version of " The Song of Roland " be- 
longs to the eleventh century ; and throughout the 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 53 

Middle Ages it was the most popular of the heroic 
poems, William the Conqueror having it sung at the 
head of his troops during his conquest of England. 
Roland is also the hero of Boiardo's " Orlando Inna- 
morato," or " Roland in Love." 



37. THE BUCCANEERS. 

The buccaneers were a celebrated association of sea- 
robbers, or pirates, called also " Brethren of the Coast," 
who for nearly two centuries, from the second quarter 
of the sixteenth century to the end of the seventeenth, 
maintained themselves in the Caribbean Seas, and 
waged a constant warfare against the Spaniards in the 
West Indies. The buccaneers were Europeans, chiefly 
natives of Great Britain and France, who first associ- 
ated together about 1524. The arrogant assumption 
by the Spaniards (on account of a bull issued by the 
Pope) of a divine right to the whole New World was 
not, of course, to be tolerated by the enterprising 
mariners of England and France ; and the enormous 
cruelties practised by the Spaniards upon all foreign 
interlopers, of which the history of that time is full, 
naturally led to an association for mutual defence, par- 
ticularly among the English and French. 

The fundamental principles of their policy — for they 
in course of time formed distinct communities — were 
close mutual alliance, and mortal war with all that was 
Spanish. Their simple code of laws bound them to 
share the common necessaries of life ; locks and bars 
were proscribed, as an insult to the general honor ; and 
every man had his comrade who stood by him when 
alive, and succeeded to his property after his death. 



54 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

When they were not hunting Spaniards, or being 
hunted themselves, their chief occupation and means 
of subsistence was the chase. 

From the flesh of wild animals they made their 
"boucan," or cured meat, and sold the skins and tallow 
to Dutch traders. 

The name buccaneer is derived from the Caribbee 
word "boucan," the French calling it " boucanier," 
from which the English derive our present " bucca- 
neer." 

The history of these men embraces narratives of 
cruelty and bloodshed unsurpassed in the annals of 
crime. 

It has, however, not a few stories of high and ro- 
mantic adventure, of chivalrous and brilliant general- 
ship. 

Among the great captains whose names figure most 
prominently in the records of buccaneering, are the 
Frenchman Montbar, surnamed "The Exterminator;" 
and his countryman Peter Dieppe, surnamed "The 
Great." 

Pre-eminent, however, among them all was- the 
Welshman Henry Morgan, who organized fleets and 
armies, took strong cities, and displayed throughout 
the genius of a born commander. He led the way for 
the buccaneers to the Southern Ocean, by his daring 
march, in 1670, across the Isthmus of Panama to the 
city of that name, which he took and plundered after a 
desperate battle. 

He was knighted by Charles II., and became deputy 
governor of Jamaica. The war between France and 
Britain, after the accession of William III., dissolved 
the ancient alliance of the French and English bucca- 
neers. The last great event in their history was the 



CURIOUS QUEST/0 JVS. 55 

capture of Carthagena, in 1697, where the booty was 
enormous. 

After the peace of Ryswick (1697), and the acces- 
sion of the Bourbon, Philip V., to the Spanish crown 
(1701), they finally disappeared. 



38. THE LETTERS OF JUNIUS. 

Junius was the name, or signature, of a writer who 
published, at intervals between the years 1769 and 1772, 
a series of political papers, forty-four in number, on the 
leading questions and men of the day, among them 
George III. 

The authorship was a mystery at the time, and re- 
mains a puzzle still. All the world felt the letters to be 
the work of no common man, and they are still consid- 
ered models of letter-writing. 

The most remarkable thing about them is the evi- 
dence of familiarity with high people and official life. 

"A traitor in the camp!" was the cry of leading 
statesmen of the period, and every person of talent or 
eminence fell more or less under the suspicion of being 
"Junius'." 

He said in one of his letters, " I am the sole deposi- 
tary of my secret, and it shall die with me." 

Lord Chatham (Mr. Pitt) was, among others, accused 
of being the writer of these letters ; but Lord Macaulay 
was of the firm opinion that the author was Sir Philip 
Francis. On this subject he says, — 

" Was he the author of the ' Letters of Junius ' ? Our own firm 
belief is, that he was. The external evidence is, we think, such as 
would support a verdict in a civil, nay, in a criminal proceeding. 
The handwriting of Junius is the very peculiar handwriting of 
Francis, slightly disguised. As to the position, pursuits, and con- 



56 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

nections of Junius, the following are the most important facts 
which can be considered as clearly proved : first, that he was ac- 
quainted with the technical forms of the Secretary of State's office ; 
secondly, that he was intimately acquainted with the business of 
the war-office'; thirdly, that he, during the year 1770, attended 
debates in the House of Lords, and took notes of speeches, par- 
ticularly of the speeches of Lord Chatham ; fourthly, that he bitterly 
resfented the appointment of Mr. Chamier to the place of Deputy 
Secretary of War; fifthly, that he was bound by some strong tie 
to the first Lord Holland. Now, Francis passed some years in the 
Secretary of State's office. He was subsequently chief clerk of 
the war-office. He repeatedly mentioned that he had himself, in 
1770, heard speeches of Lord Chatham; and some of those 
speeches were actually printed from his notes. He resigned his 
clerkship at the war-office from resentment at the appointment of 
Mr: Chamier. It was by Lord Holland that he was first introduced 
into the pubHc service. Now, here are five marks, all of which 
ought to be found in Junius. They are all five found in Francis. 
We do not believe that more than two of them can be found in any 
other person whatever. If this argument does not settle the ques- 
tion, there is an end of all reasoning on circumstantial evidence." 



39. THE MONA LISA. 

Mona Lisa was the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, 
a Florentine friend of Leonardo da Vinci ; and her 
portrait in the Louvre is rightly considered one of the 
chefs-d'cetivre of this master and of his style. He is 
said to have worked at this portrait for four years with- 
out having finished it to his own satisfaction. 

The picture is known as "La Belle Joconde" (in Ital- 
ian, "La Gioconda") ; and Vasari describes it as "rather 
divine than human, as lifelike as nature itself, . . . not 
painting, but the despair of other painters." M. Mich- 
elet adds, "This picture attracts me, it fascinates and 
absorbs me : I go to it in spite of myself, as the bird is 
drawn to the serpent." 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 57 

40. A FEATHER IN ONE'S CAP. 

In the Lansdovvne manuscript in the British Museum 
is a description of Hungary in 1599, in which the writer 
says of the inhabitants, " It hath been an antient cus- 
tom among them that none should wear a fether but he 
who had killed a Turk, to whom onlie yt was lawful to 
shew the number of his slaine enemys by the number 
of fethers in his cappe." 



41. AN ENGLISH POPE. 

Pope Adrian IV. was by birth an Englishman, and 
the only one of that nation who has ever occupied the 
papal chair. He was a native of Langley, near St. 
Albans, in Hertfordshire. 

He was born before A.D. iioo: his real name was 
Nicholas Breakspear. He is said to have left England 
as a beggar, and to have become a servant or lay 
brother in a monastery near Avignon, in France, where 
he studied with such diligence that in 11 37 he was 
elected abbot. His merits soon became known to 
Pope Eugenius III., who made him cardinal-bishop of 
Alba in 1 146, and sent him two years later as his legate 
to Denmark and Norway, where he converted many of 
the inhabitants to Christianity. 

Soon after his return to Rome, Nicholas was unani- 
mously chosen pope, against his own inclination, No- 
vember, II 54. 

Henry II. of England, on hearing of his election, sent 
the abbot of St. Albans and three bishops to Rome 
with his congratulations. With Adrian began the long 
struggle between the papal power and the house of 



58 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Hohenstaufen, which ended in the destruction of that 
dynasty. 

Frederick Barbarossa entered Italy at the head of a 
large army, for the purpose of receiving the crown of 
Germany from the hands of the Pope : Adrian met him 
at Sutri. 

The demand that he should hold the Pope's stirrup 
as a mark of respect was refused by Frederick, and not 
until after two days' negotiation was he induced to yield 
the desired homage. 

His Holiness then conducted the emperor to Rome, 
where the ceremony of coronation took place in St. 
Peter's Church, A.D. 1155. It was in these transac- 
tions that the quarrel originated. The Pope addressed 
a letter to Frederick and the German bishops in 1157, 
asserting that the emperor held his dominions as a 
betieficium. This expression being interpreted as de- 
noting feudal tenure, aroused in Frederick and the 
Germans the fiercest indignation. Explanations were 
attempted, but the breach could not be healed. Adrian 
was about to pronounce the sentence of excommunica- 
tion upon Frederick, when he died at Anagni, Sept. i, 
1 159. During the pontificate of Adrian, the doctrine 
of Transubstantiation, advanced by Petrus Lombardus, 
was established. 



42. FREDERICK BARBAROSSA. 

Frederick I,, called Barbarossa (Red-beard), was Em- 
peror of Germany (A.D. 1123-1190). He was a great 
statesman and a valiant soldier. 

He had much trouble with his Italian towns, which 
rebelled against him, desiring to become republics in 
themselves. The Pope encouraged them at first, be- 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 59 

cause he did not like Frederick ; but after their cele- 
brated reconciliation at Venice, these towns submitted 
to Frederick. One of his vassals, however, Henry the 
Lion, rebelled against him ; and Frederick had no peace 
until he took from Henry his lands, and sent him out 
of the country. 

The name of Henry's family was Welf ; the Hohen- 
staufens, Frederick's family, were sometimes called 
Waibling. 

The Italians called these names Guelph and Ghibel- 
line. 

In 1 1 89, when Frederick was quite an old man, he 
set out, at the head of a large army, on the third Cru- 
sade. But he did not reach the Holy Land ; for, while 
his army was crossing a river in Asia Minor, he grew 
impatient because the bridge became blocked, and 
dashed into the water on horse-back. The stream 
swept him away ; and, before help could reach him, he 
was drowned, June 10, 1190. 

He was buried in Antioch ; but in after-times a story 
arose that he was not dead, but sleeping in a mountain 
cave in Germany, and that, when the ravens should 
cease to fly around the mountain, he would av/ake, and 
restore Germany to its ancient greatness. 

According to the story, his red beard has become so 
long that it has grown through the table beside which 
he sits, and that it must wrap itself three times around 
the table before his second advent. 



43. THE GOLDEN TEMPLE OF UMRITSEER. 

The Golden Temple of Umritseer in India is an ele- 
gant little building, architecturally resembling the Sara- 
cenic in some features, and in others partaking of the 
pagoda style. 



60 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

It is about sixty feet long, and thirty feet wide, and is 
situated in the middle of a huge tank, called by the 
Sikhs the " Fount of Immortality." 

The gateway to the bridge leading across the tank to 
the temple, is covered with plates of chased silver, 
twelve feet square ; and along this bridge are richly 
gilded lamps, supported by marble pedestals. The tem- 
ple is two-storied, the walls being of marble inlaid with 
mosaics of the Florentine style, representing birds, 
vases, and flowers : the roof is surmounted by three 
domes, around which are grouped a multitude of little 
cupolas, all highly gilded, and glittering in the light. 

The doors are of silver, embossed and chased with 
various designs. 



44. THIRTEEN A LUCKY NUMBER. 

There is an ancient superstition, that if on any occa- 
sion thirteen sit at table together, one of the number 
will die before the year is out. This silly superstition 
has been traced back to the Last Supper of our Lord 
with his twelve disciples, Judas after the betrayal hav- 
ing hanged himself. 

Thirteen has in consequence been considered an 
unlucky number: to counterbalance this, there is an 
instance of thirteen having been a lucky number. 

An obituary notice of John Hatfield, who died June 
18, 1770, aged 102, appeared a few days after his death 
in the " Public Advertiser," London. 

It states, that, "when a soldier in the time of William 
and Mary, he was tried by a court-martial on a charge 
of having fallen asleep at midnight when on duty upon 
the terrace at Windsor." It goes on to state, " He 
absolutely denied the charge against him, and solemnly 



CURIOUS QUEST/0. VS. 6 1 

declared (as a proof of his having been awake at the 
time) that he heard St. Paul's clock strike thirteen : the 
truth of which was much doubted by the court because 
of the great distance. But while he was under sentence 
of death, an affidavit was made by several persons that 
the clock actually did strike thirteen instead of twelve : 
whereupon he received his Majesty's pardon." 

It is added that a recital of these circumstances was 
engraven on the cofifin-plate of the old soldier, to satisfy 
the world of the truth of the story. 

The clock which struck on this important occasion 
was Tom of Westminster, afterwards removed to St. 
Paul's. 



45. THE TOMB OF CHARLEMAGNE. 

Charles the Great, or, as the French call him, Charle- 
magne (a corruption of Carolus Magnus), built a splen- 
did palace for himself at Aix-la-Chapelle in Prussia ; 
also a chapel on the site of the present cathedral, and 
under the chapel a tomb for himself. 

His body was placed in a sitting position in the tomb 
on his death, in the year 814. 

Nearly two hundred years afterward, in looi, the 
emperor, Otho III., had the vault opened; and it is said 
that the body of the great emperor was found in a won- 
derful state of preservation, seated on a marble throne, 
dressed in imperial robes, with his crown on his head, 
his sword by his side, the Gospels lying open on his lap, 
and his sceptre in his hand. 

A large picture, representing Otho and his nobles 
gazing on the dead emperor, is painted on the walls of 
the great room of the town-hall at Aix-la-Chapelle. In 
the year 1165 the Emperor Barbarossa had the vault 



62 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

again opened; and in 1215 Frederick II. took there- 
mains from the vault, and put them in a casket of gold 
and silver, in which they are still kept in the treasury 
of the cathedral. 

The marble throne on which the dead emperor sat 
for three hundred and fifty years is still to be seen in 
the cathedral. It was used as a throne at the corona- 
tion of the German emperors until 1558, after which 
the emperors were crowned at Frankfort. The crown 
and other relics found with the body are preserved in 
Vienna. 



46. VICTOR HUGO'S OPINION OF CERTAIN GREAT 
LITERARY MEN. 

Victor Hugo (who died in May, 1885) said that the 
greatest Pelasgian was Homer ; the greatest Hellen, 
.^schylus ; the greatest Hebrew, Isaiah ; the greatest 
Roman, Juvenal ; the greatest Italian, Dante ; and the 
greatest Briton, Shakspeare. 

The name of Hoitier is the greatest in the history of 
epic poetry. He was an Asiatic Greek : seven cities 
claimed his birth, but he is supposed to have been born 
at Smyrna (one of the twelve cities of the Ionian Con- 
federacy in Asia), which, ten times destroyed, has risen 
ten times to splendor. Almost every trace of the 
ancient city is now destroyed ; but Smyrna is still the 
emporium of the Levant, and contains a hundred and 
twenty thousand inhabitants. 

Homer lived some time between 1000 B.C. and 850 
B.C. : this is as near as we can come to the date. 
He is called the greatest Pelasgian, though born at 
Smyrna, because Pelasgia was the name of that part of 
ancient Greece, now called Thessaly, where it is certain 



■^ CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 63 

that the greater part of Homer's life was spent, and 
where he wrote his immortal epics, the " Iliad " and 
the "Odyssey." "Seven cities claimed him dead, where 
Homer, living, begged his daily bread." 

^schilles, or yEscJiylus, was born at Eleusis in Attica 
(a kingdom in that part of Greece called Hella) in 
the year 525 B.C., and died at Gela in Sicily, 456 B.C. 
He is called the "Father of Tragedy," also "The Shak- 
speare of the Grecian Drama." He wrote ninety trage- 
dies, forty of which won public prizes. He was the first 
to erect a regular stage, with scenery and appropriate 
costumes. He was killed by the fall of a tortoise, 
dropped from the beak of an eagle, on his head. 

Isaiah (Salvation) was one of the four greater Hebrew 
prophets. 

We know not his name, nor of what tribe he was ; but 
he was a prophet of the kingdom of Judah, and must 
have been an old man in the time of Hezekiah, who 
died 698 B.C. Smith says of him, "His mind is the 
most sublime and variously gifted instrument which the 
Spirit of God has ever employed to pour forth Its Voice 
upon the world." 

Decimus JtmiiLS Jtivenalis was born in Aquinum ; 
the exact date of his birth is unknown ; but he was a 
youth in the time of Nero, who died in the year A.D. 68 ; 
and he was a writer between the years 81 and 117. 

Juvenal, the Satirist of Indignation, and Horace, the 
Satirist of Ridicule, represent the two schools into 
which satire has been divided ; and from one or the 
other every classical satirist of modern Europe derives 
his descent. 

Among Dryden's masterpieces are his versions of 
five satires of Juvenal. 

Dante {Dicrante Alighieri), one of the greatest poets 



64 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

of all time, and always the greatest among the Italians, 
was born in Florence, May 14, 1265, and died in Ra- 
venna, Sept. 14, 1 32 1. 

His passionate and undying love for Beatrice, from 
the time he was nine years of age, became the fountain 
of the poetical inspiration of his life. 

His immortal work, "The Divina Commedia," depicts 
a vision in which the poet is conducted, first, by Virgil, 
"the representative of human reason," through hell and 
purgatory ; then by Beatrice, the representative of reve- 
lation ; and finally by St. Bernard, through the several 
heavens, where he beholds the Triune God. 

William Shakspeai'e was born April 23, 1564, at 
Stratford-on-Avon, in Warwickshire, England, and is 
the chief literary glory of that country. 

He married Anne Hathaway, and had two daughters 
and one son : the latter did not survive his father. 

The Germans have nationalized Shakspeare to such 
an extent, that their enthusiasm over him almost ex- 
ceeds that of the English ; and to them is due his title 
of "the poet/^r excellence of the whole world." 

He died on his fifty-third birthday, in 1616. 

As a dramatist, Shakspeare is without a peer ; and 
only one or two poets can be named as ranking with 
him. 

No edition of his plays was published until after his 
death. Many separate plays were rudely printed; but 
the first (folio) edition appeared in 1623, seven years 
after he died. The few remaining copies of this edition 
are very rare and costly. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 65 

47. THE SECOND GREAT PICTURE OF THE WORLD. 

The " Last Communion of St. Jerome " by Domeni- 
chino is the ~ masterpiece of this master, and is second 
only to the "Transfiguration," being placed opposite 
to it in the Vatican. 

It was painted for the monks of Ara Coeli, who quar- 
relled with the artist, and shut up the picture. 

They commissioned Poussin to paint an altar-piece 
for their church ; and, instead of supplying him with 
fresh canvas, they produced the picture of Domenichino, 
and desired him to paint over it. 

Poussin indignantly threw up his engagement, and 
made known the existence of the picture, which was 
afterwards preserved in the Church of St. Girolamo della 
Carita, from whence it was carried off by the French. 

"The aged saint, emaciated and dying, is borne in 
the arms of his disciples to the chapel of his monastery 
at Bethlehem, and placed within the porch. 

" He is represented as receiving his last sacrament 
from St. P^phraim of Syria. 

"A young priest sustains him; St. Paula, kneeling, 
kisses one of his hands ; a deacon holds the cup, and an 
attendant priest the book. 

"The lion droops his head with an expression of grief: 
the eyes of all are on the dying saint, while four angels 
hovering above look down upon the scene." 

A noticeable feature in the picture is, that the candle 
is ingeniously bent, so as not to interfere with the 
architectural lines of the picture, while the flame is 
straight. 

The lion, which always accompanies Jerome when he 
is represented in art, is said to have pined away after 
Jerome's death, and to have died at last upon his grave. 



66 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

St. Jerome was born about the middle of the fourth 
century. 

As a scholar and an author, he takes the first rank : as 
a theologian, he is the second only to his contempo- 
rary St. Augustine, among the Latin Fathers. His 
chief work is his Latin translation of the Scriptures, 

In 374 he retired to the desert of Chalcis, where he 
spent four years in study, especially that of the Hebrew 
language. 

He was thus prepared to produce a new version of 
the Old Testament. 

He Commenced this work in 385, and completed it 
in 405 ; and he also made an improved translation of 
the New Testament : his two translations together 
received the name of the "Vulgate." About two hun- 
dred years after Jerome's death, in A.D. 420, the Vul- 
gate became the universally received version of the 
Church. 

Paula was one of St. Jerome's chief converts from 
among the wealthy families of Rome. She founded 
four convents in the East, and became so celebrated for 
her holy life, that after her death she was canonized as 
St. Paula. 



48. ROMAN-CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT SERVICE HELD 
IN THE SAME PLACE AND AT THE SAME TIME. 

Religious toleration is nowhere more plainly set forth 
than in Heidelberg, an ancient city of Germany. 

One of the most important buildings of the town is 
the Church of the Holy Ghost. Through the middle of 
this church a partition wall has been run, that the ser- 
vice according to the Roman-Catholic and the Protes- 
tant ritual may be held at the same time. 



PURIOUS QUESTIONS. 6/ 

In the year 1719 an effort was made by Charles 
Philip, the Elector, to deprive the Protestants of their 
half of the church ; but the townspeople made so strong 
a resistance, that he was obliged, not only to desist, but 
to remove the Electoral Court from Heidelberg to 
Mannheim. 

Heidelberg is celebrated chiefly for its university, 
which is five hundred years old, and has still one hun- 
dred and eight professors, and more than seven hundred 
students. The library of the university is one of the 
largest in Germany, and has many very old and valu- 
able manuscripts. 

Heidelberg Castle is called the " Alhambra of Ger- 
many," and well deserves the title. Built in the four- 
teenth century, it served the double purpose of a castle 
and a fortress : it is now one of the most superb ruins 
in Europe. 

The Great Tun of Heidelberg Castle is a celebrated 
wine-cask, holding two hundred and eighty-three thou- 
sand bottles of wine; and it is known to have been filled 
three times. 



49. DEVOTION OF THE WOMEN OF WEINSBERG. 

During the wars between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, 
a battle was fought (1140) between the Emperor Kon- 
rad HI. and Welf, brother of Heinrich the Proud, at 
the foot of Weinsberg, a hill crowned with a castle 
on the banks of the Neckar; and in this battle, 
"Welf" (Guelph) and "Waibling" (Ghibelline) were 
first used. 

The victory fell to Konrad, and he besieged the cas- 
tle until those within offered to surrender. 

iMl the men were to be made prisoners ; but the 



68 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

women were to go away in peace, with as much of their 
treasure as each could carry. 

All Konrad's army was drawn up to leave free pas- 
sage for the ladies, the emperor at their head, when, 
behold, a wonderful procession came down the hill ! 
Each woman carried on her back her greatest treasure, 
— husband, son, father, or brother. 

Some were angry at this, as a trick ; but Konrad was 
touched, granted safety to all, and not only gave free- 
dom to the men, but sent the women back to get the 
wealth they had left behind. 

The hill was called Weibertreu, or Woman's Truth ; 
and in 1820 Charlotte, Queen of Wurtemberg, daughter 
of George III., with other ladies of Germany, built an 
asylum there for poor women who have been noted for 
self-sacrificing acts of love. 



50. SEVEN LAMPS. 

"The Seven Lamps of Architecture" by Ruskin 
appeared in 1849. The whole design of the work seems 
to be an effort to introduce a new and higher concep- 
tion of the significance of architecture. It is beauti- 
fully written, and finely illustrated by the author him- 
self. The seven lamps are as follows : — 

The Lamp of Sacrifice, 

The Lamp of Truth. 

The Lamp of Power. 

The Lamp of Beauty. 

The Lamp of Life. 

The Lamp of Memory. 

The Lamp of Obedience. 

John Ruskin, an English author, was born in L,on- 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 69 

don, in 18 19. Nearly all of his works relate to the 
arts of painting, sculpture, and architecture. In all 
three branches, he is considered high authority. He 
studied at Christ Church, Oxford, where he gained the 
Newdigate prize for English poetry in 1839, and took 
his degree in 1842. 

The following year appeared the first volume of his 
" Modern Painters." The fifth and last volume of this 
work was not published until i860. The unequalled 
splendor of Ruskin's style has given him the first place 
among writers on art. In 1871 the University of Cam- 
bridge conferred on him the degree of LL.D. 

In his latest and complete edition of his works, anno- 
tated with great care and fidelity, he abandons many 
of his early positions, and reverses his former judg- 
ments, daring to acknowledge that in his development 
he has seen reason to change his views. 



51. THE ART OF ARTS. 

The blind man's judgment was just, when, having 
felt first a statue, and then a painting of the same fig- 
ure, he remarked, " If this fiat surface looks like that 
round one, then this is the greater art." 

Painting is called " The Art of Arts ; " for to be a 
successful painter necessitates a knowledge of drawing, 
sculpture, and architecture. While the sculptor and 
architect make forms, the painter, without making 
them, presents them to the eye. 

Pliny states that " Gyges the Lydian " introduced 
painting into Egypt, and adds, "The Egyptians afifirm 
that the art was invented among themselves several 
thousand years before it passed into Greece." 



•JO CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

The formative period of Grecian painting covers 
about seven hundred years, — from the fall of Troy 
(1184 B.C.) to the restoration of the Athenian Democ- 
racy (510 B.C.). 

—9— 

52. CHARLES II. 

" Who never said a foolish thing, 
And never did a wise one." 

After the death of Oliver Cromwell, his son Richard 
was acknowledged his successor. 

But, as Richard possessed neither the energy nor the 
ambition of his father, he resigned the office of Pro- 
tector, and retired to private life : this left England for 
a time in a state of anarchy. Then came the " Res- 
toration," when Charles II. was received by the nation 
with joy amounting almost to frenzy. The first year 
of his reign (1660) was called the twelfth, dating back 
from the time of his father's death. 

Charles II. was a man of considerable ability ; but he 
preferred pleasure to business, and was therefore called 
"The Merry Monarch." 

He understood the interests of his kingdom, how- 
ever, better than any of his ministers ; and he was well 
aware of the fact, as is shown by his witty reply to an 
epigram written by a member of his court : — 

" Here lies our sovereign lord, the king, 
Whose word no man relies on ; 
Who never said a foolish thing, 
And never did a wise one." 

"That is very true," said the king when it was shown 
to him ; " for my words are my own : my actions are 
my ministry's." 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 7 1 

53. THE BATTLE OF NATIONS. 

Many battles have been fought on the plain which 
Hv'S around the city of Leipsic, but none more impor- 
tant in the world's history than the "Battle of Nations," 
German Volkerschlacht, which took place Oct. 16, 18 13, 
between Napoleon with his allied nations, and the allied 
powers of Russia, Prussia, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, 
and England. 

When Alexander I. of Russia refused, in 1812, to 
concur in Napoleon's scheme of excluding British com- 
merce from the whole European continent, it so offended 
the emperor, that he resolved to march against Russia 
with all the force of the territories under his dominion. 
"In that way," says Professor Heeren, "a storm of 
nations arose (about twenty were united under the 
standard of the conqueror) unparalleled in history 
since the expedition of Xerxes and Attila." Upon the 
invasion of his dominion, Alexander at once made allies 
of the Turks, and could have met his foe with an equal 
number of nations, if he had had time to summon them 
from the mountains and deserts of Asia. 

All of his troops (divided into three armies) did not 
equal those of his enemy, which amounted to nearly 
half a million ; but the whole Russian army manifested 
the most determined purpose to resist the hated invad- 
ers, and to engage God and religion on the side of 
Russia. They made an entire consecration of the em- 
pire and the church to the God of battles. 

The Russians retreated before the French, until 
at last, on the 14th and 15 th of September, 18 12, 
Napoleon, with his victorious army, entered Moscow, 
and took possession of the Kremlin, the ancient resi- 
dence of the czars. 



72 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Here Napoleon reached the limit of his expedition 
and the grave of his greatness. 

Moscow, fired by its own citizens, fell a victim for 
the Emperor of Russia ; but in its pillars of fire the 
first dawn of freedom shone over shackled Europe. 

When three-fourths of Moscow was consumed, an 
unconquerable Russian army appeared before it. Never 
was a disappointment more sudden or more bitter. 
Napoleon gave the order for retreat, and a retreat more 
disastrous is nowhere recorded in history. 

Alexander pursued the enemy beyond the borders 
of his empire, and there gave the signal for that union 
of European powers which ended the campaign with 
the battle of Leipsic, the greatest battle of modern 
history. 

The signal defeat of the French emperor left the 
way open to Paris, which in 1814 was entered by the 
respective sovereigns, who compelled Napoleon to abdi- 
cate, and restored the House of Bourbon to the throne. 
The renown of Alexander was now complete, as the 
providential deliverer of Europe. 



54. DON QUIXOTE. 

The object of Cervantes in writing " Don Quixote " 
was, as he himself declares, "to render abhorred of men 
the false and absurd stories contained in the books of 
chivalry." 

The fanaticism caused by these romances was so 
great in Spain during the sixteenth century, that the 
burning of all extant copies was earnestly requested 
by the Cortes (or Legislature of the realm). 

To destroy a passion that had taken such deep root 



CURIOUS QUESTION'S. 73 

among all classes, to break up the only reading which 
(at that time) was fashionable and popular, was a bold 
undertaking, yet one in which Cervantes succeeded. 

No books of chivalry were written after the appear- 
ance of " Don Quixote ; " and from that time those in 
existence have been steadily disappearing, until now 
they are among the rarest of literary curiosities. 

This is a solitary instance of the power of genius to 
destroy, by a well-aimed blow, an entire department of 
literature. 

This romance, which Cervantes threw so carelessly 
from his pen, and which he only regarded as an effort 
to break up the absurd fancies about chivalry, has now 
become the oldest specimen of romantic fiction, and one 
of the most remarkable monuments of modern genius. 

Ten years after its appearance Cervantes published 
the second part of " Don Quixote," which is even better 
than the first. It was written in his old age, when in 
prison, and finished when he felt the hand of death 
pressing cold and heavy upon him ; so that both admira- 
tion and reverence are due to the living power of " Don 
Quixote " and to the genius of Cervantes. 

A second intention or application of the poet was to 
depict in "Don Quixote" all or any forms of ill-judged, 
visionary enthusiasm, as contrasted with even the sim- 
plest solid sense of honest Sancho Panza. So while in 
one sense it is true that 

" Cervantes laughed Spain's chivalry away," 

in a larger view he has presented so telling a satire 
upon the faults and foibles of human nature, that " Don 
Quixote" has done great good as a practical treatise and 
moral philosophy. 



74 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

55. THE COSTLIEST PICTURE IN THE WORLD. 

The Blenheim Madonna, painted by Raphael in 1507, 
and now valued at three hundred and fifty thousand 
dollars, is considered the costliest picture in the world. 

It belongs to the Duke of Marlborough, who has a 
large and very expensive collection of paintings, which 
has come down to him from the original Duke of Marl- 
borough. 

It has been proposed to the British Government, to 
purchase this celebrated Madonna, which was originally 
painted for the Church of the Servi at Perugia. 

The picture is eight feet high, representing the Ma- 
donna and Child seated upon a throne, with a figure of 
St. John the Baptist on the left, and that of St. Nicolas 
of Bari on the right, the last two being apparently life- 
size. 

Its high valuation arises from the fact of its being 
one of the best preserved specimens of Raphael's paint- 
ing extant. 

It is called the "Blenheim Madonna" from its being 
in Blenheim Palace, which is the residence of the Duke 
of Marlborough, and one of the most costly and magnifi- 
cent buildings in Europe. 

After the victory won by the English under the Duke 
of Marlborough, over the French, at Blenheim, Bavaria, 
in 1 704, Queen Anne gave Marlborough a large tract of 
land near Oxford, called Woodstock, on which he 
erected the palace (called Blenheim in memory of the 
battle). It still belongs to his descendants ; and every 
year the duke sends to Windsor Castle, as a kind of 
rent, a little flag worked with a French fleur-de-lis, 
which is hung up in one of the halls of the castle. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 75 

56. THE MENTONE MAN. 

This man was a Frenchman ; or at least his skeleton 
was found in a cave at Mentone, near Nice, in France. 

The skeleton was almost perfect when found (March, 
1872), and showed its owner to have been a tall, well- 
formed, good-looking man, with an average skull, and a 
facial angle of eighty-five degrees. 

The antiquity of this skeleton is undoubted ; for his 
bones are associated with those of the cave-lion, cave- 
bear, and other extinct animals. 

The bones of this skeleton were all in place, sur- 
rounded by flint implements and the bones of animals 
supposed to have been killed by him. Twenty-two per- 
forated teeth lay by his head, and are supposed to have 
formed a chaplet. 

His name is, of course, unknown ; but his bones, with 
the Dutchman's skull found in a cave near Engis, are 
the oldest known human bones in existence. 

They are great aids in proving that ancient races had 
as much brain-room as ourselves, and were not a mere 
development of a lower race of animals. 



57. THE COSSACKS. 

The word cossack means robber. Their name was 
given to them by the Turks. 

They are a race, in manners, in appearance, and in 
language, like the Russians, yet they are said not to be 
akin to them. 

There are two tribes of Cossacks, — those of Little 
Russia, and the Don Cossacks. They are said to be 
the most unscrupulous robbers in the world. They are 



76 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

famous horsemen, and the Czar of Russia largely exe- 
cutes his imperial commands by means of the Cossack 
cavalry. 

They have lately been styled the " Spies of the 
Czar," and they keep the Nihilists in greater check 
than any other power in Russia. There are 1,900,000 
Cossacks in Russia at the present time. 

That part of Russia bordering on Poland is called 
the " Ukraine," and it was to the Ukraine that the wild 
horse in Byron's poem is said to have carried Mazeppa 
(a Don Cossack). Mazeppa was born in 1645 5 he was 
descended from a noble Polish family : but, for an in- 
sult offered the wife of a Polish nobleman, he was con- 
demned to be bound upon a wild horse, with his head to 
the horse's tail, to be borne av/ay, and left to his fate. 

The horse carried him towards the Ukraine ; but, 
instead of his being killed, he was rescued by the Cos- 
sacks, and soon became their Hetman, or chief. 

Eventually he won the confidence of Peter the Great, 
and was appointed by him "Prince of the Ukraine." 

But, when the freedom of the Cossacks was curtailed, 
Mazeppa conceived the idea of throwing off allegiance 
to the Czar, and for this purpose joined his forces with 
those of Charles XII. of Sweden. He was taken pris- 
oner in the battle of Pultowa, and condemned for trea- 
son ; but he escaped, and fled to Bender, Turkey, where 
he died in 1709. 

The story of Mazeppa has been made the subject of 
a poem by Lord Byron, of a novel by Bulgarin, and of 
two celebrated pictures painted by Horace Vernet. 



I 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. yy 

58. AN ODD CUSTOM: "TELLING THE BEES." 

The beautiful poem by Whittier, called "Telling the 
Bees," from which the following stanzas are taken, was 
founded upon an odd custom brought from the old 
country, and which prevailed for a time in the rural dis- 
tricts of New England. 

On the death of a member of the family, the bees 
were at once informed of the event, and their hives 
draped with mourning. This ceremony was supposed 
to be necessary to prevent the swarms from leaving 
their hives, and seeking a new home. 

" Before them under the garden wall, 
Forward and back, 
Went drearily singing the chore-girl small, 
Draping each hive with a shred of black. 

Trembling, I listened : the summer sun 

Had the chill of snow, 
For I knew she was telling the bees of one 

Gone on the journey we all must go. 



And the song she was singing, ever since 

In my ear sounds on: — 
* Stay at home, pretty bees, fly not hence ! 

Mistress Mary is dead and gone ! ' " 



59. A HUGUENOT EXEMPTED FROM THE MASSACRE. 

Bernard Palissy, born in Agen, France, in 15 10, was 
the first to rediscover the art of producing white 
enamel. He was the leading representative of French 
ceramic art in the sixteenth century ; was an origina- 
tor, and his life is characterized as "the great romance" 
in the history of ceramics. 



7^ CUT? 10 us QUESTIONS. 

An enamelled cup of "faience," which he saw by 
chance, inspired him with the resolution to rediscover 
the mode of producing white enamel. Neglecting all 
other duties, he devoted himself to this one object for 
sixteen years. He had exhausted all his resources, and, 
for want of money to buy fuel, was reduced to the ne- 
cessity of burning his household furniture piece by 
piece ; his neighbors laughed at him ; his wife over- 
whelmed him with reproaches, and his starving children 
surrounded him crying for bread ; but, in spite of all 
these discouragements, he persisted in the search until 
his labors were rewarded with success. 

A few pieces sold for high prices, and enabled him 
to complete his investigations, after which he became 
famous, — famous at the expense of an injured wife, a 
broken family, and a row of little graves. 

His second success was a jasper glaze, which shows 
a mixture of brown, white, and blue. His third success, 
an achievement which brought him enduring fame, was 
the manufacture of " Rustiques Figulines," which con- 
sisted of curiously shaped dishes and vases, ornamented 
with shells, frogs, lizards, snakes, fishes of many varie- 
ties, and leaves. These are now best known by the 
imitations. Barbizet claims to have rediscovered Pal- 
issy's method, which was lost as a specialty upon the 
death of his immediate family. 

Palissy aimed at absolute truth to nature : his moulds 
were formed from living specimens, and he reproduced 
the exact colors of his models. Having become a Prot- 
estant, he was thrown into prison, in Bordeaux, but was 
released by King Charles IX., in order to become "Pot- 
ter to the King." Under royal protection he removed 
to Paris, and set up his works in a place called from his 
tile-kilns "Tuileries." Afterwards, when the palace of 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 79 

the king was built there, it retained the name ; and the 
royal residence has ever since been known as the " Pal- 
ace of the Tuileries." 

Palissy, having been employed to ornament the gar- 
dens of the palace, was specially exempted by Catherine 
de' Medici, Queen of Henry II., from the massacre of 
St. Bartholomew, Aug. 24, 1572. 

In 1575 he commenced a course of lectures on natu- 
ral history and physics. He gave the first right notions 
of the origin of springs, and the formation of stones 
and fossil shells. These, with his theories regarding 
the best method of purifying water, have been fully 
supported by recent discovery and investigations. 

In 1588 he was arrested as a heretic, and thrown into 
the Bastile, but died in 1590 before his sentence was 
pronounced. 



60. BROTHER JONATHAN. 

The origin of this term, as applied to the United 
States, is as follows : — 

When Gen. Washington, after being appointed com- 
mander of the army of the Revolutionary war, went to 
Massachusetts to organize it, he found a great want of 
ammunition, and other means for its defence; and on 
one occasion it seemed that no means could be devised 
for the necessary safety, 

Jonathan Trumbull the elder was then governor of 
the State of Connecticut ; and the general, placing the 
greatest reliance on his Excellency's judgment, re- 
marked, "We must consult Brother Jonathan on the 
subject." 

The general did so, and the governor was success- 
ful in supplying many of the wants of the army ; and 



8o CURWUS QUESTIONS. 

thenceforth, when difficulties arose, and the army was 
spread over the country, it became a by-phrase, " We 
must consult Brother Jonathan :" and the name has now 
become a designation for the whole country, as " John 
Bull " for Endand. 



6i. WILLIAM AND MARY. 

Mary was the daughter of James IL, and William his 
nephew and son-in-law : had James been acceptable to 
the English people, they, as Prince and Princess of 
Orange, would have had but slight mention in history. 

Their reign as joint monarchs of Great Britain forms 
a great epoch in English history, called "The Glorious 
Revolution of 1688." 

James II. had attempted to re-establish the Roman- 
Catholic religion in England ; but the majority of the 
English people being thoroughly Protestant, James lost 
favor, and was finally forced to abdicate, and take refuge 
in France. 

In contracting for a marriage with Mary, William had 
stipulated, that, if she inherited her father's throne, he 
should reign as joint heir of the kingdom in title from 
Charles I. ; otherwise he would return to Holland, and 
remain " Prince of Orange," this being a part of the 
marriage contract : when in 1688 both Houses of Par- 
liament elected the Prince and Princess of Orange to be 
king and queen conjointly, it was in fulfilment of this 
previous promise. The administration of affairs was to 
be held in the hands of William, but all acts of the reign 
were proclaimed in the name of "William and Mary." 

After they had reigned six years, Mary died of small- 
pox in 1694. William was then called "William III.," 



CUKJOUS QUESTIONS. 8 1 

and ruled between seven and eight years longer, when 
he was killed by a fall from his horse in 1702. The 
Roman Catholics supported James II. in his attempt 
to recover the throne, while the Protestants took the 
part of William III. : the latter were therefore called 
" Orangemen." James II. was utterly defeated at the 
battle of the Boyne, July 12, 1690. 

The day is still celebrated as "Orangemen's Day" by 
the Protestant Irish, and it seldom passes without a 
conflict between them and the Roman-Catholic Irish. 
Even at this late day, and in America, there have fre- 
quently been demonstrations of hostility between the 
two parties, which have required great coolness and 
firmness on the part of the municipal authorities to 
calm down. 



62. "LUCREZIA BORGIA." 

This opera is founded upon Victor Hugo's drama of 
" Lucrece Borgia," and was composed by Gaetano Doni- 
zetti in 1834. 

The scene passes in Venice and Ferrara. Lucrezia, 
wife of Don Alfonso, Duke of Ferrara, impelled by some 
irresistible feeling, follows Gennaro, a young man sup- 
posed to be the son of a poor fisherman, to Venice, 
where she becomes convinced that he is her son. The 
duke, however, not knowing her secret, becomes jealous, 
and determines to get rid of him. 

Gennaro is taunted by some of his companions with 
being the lover of Lucrezia ; and having no respect or 
attachment for the haughty and cruel woman, in a fit 
of rage he insults her by defacing her name on the pal- 
ace-gates. Lucrezia is informed of this by her spy, 
Gubetta, and demands from her husband that the cul- 



82 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

prit shall be punished with death : this he readily 
promises, believing him to be his wife's lover. The 
prisoner is brought in, and Lucrezia is horrified at 
beholding Gennaro. 

The duke, mistaking the cause of her emotion, insists 
on her deciding the manner of his death. 

She chooses poison, mixes it in his wine, and presents 
it to him. The duke, satisfied, leaves him to die, when 
Lucrezia compels Gennaro to swallow an antidote, as- 
sists him to escape, and begs him to leave Ferrara at 
once. This he is about to do, but is induced by his 
friend Orsini to remain for 2. fete given by the courte- 
san, Negroni. During the evening goblets of wine are 
brought in, which the guests partake of. 

Lucrezia then enters, and informs them that they are 
all poisoned ; giving as a reason for the act, the insult 
offered to her at Venice. Gennaro appears, to her great 
anguish, she thinking that he had left the city ; and she 
again tries to save him with the antidote, which he re- 
fuses unless she will also save his friends. This she is 
unable to do, but urges him to save himself, informing 
him that he is a Borgia, and she is his mother. He 
tells her it is now too late, and falls lifeless before her. 

The duke and attendants enter just as Lucrezia 
throws herself, dying, on the body of her son. 

Gaetano Donizetti, the author of this opera, — and 
sixty other operas, — was born in Bergamo, Sept. 25, 
1798, and died there, April 8, 1848. Among his most 
famous operas are " La Favorita," " Lucia di Lammer- 
moor," "La Fille du Regiment," "Don Pasquale." He 
wrote his last opera, " Don Sebastian," in two months, 
and said at the time, " 'Don Sebastian ' will be the death 
of me." Soon after it was finished he had a stroke of 
paralysis, and ended his days in a lunatic-asylum. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 83 

dl. THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA. 

About three centuries after the time of Confucius, 
and two centuries before Christ, a great warrior, called 
Chi-hoang-ti, was emperor of China; and for the purpose 
of putting a stop to the incursions of the Tartars, Kal- 
mucks, and other tribes from the north, he caused the 
Great Wall — fifteen hundred miles in length — to be 
erected along the northern frontier of his dominions. 
It required ten years to build the wall, which is now 
mostly in ruins. 

In the emperor's haste to complete it, he caused the 
deaths of tens of thousands of his laborers from over- 
work ; and his name is an object of hatred among the 
Chinese to the present day. 

The wall proved utterly useless as a means of de- 
fence, as the conquest of China was effected during the 
reign of the immediate successors of Chi-hoang-ti. It 
is interesting to know that the name China (unknown 
by the inhabitants of the country) comes from the 
house from which the builder of the Great Wall was 
descended. 

Chi-hoang-ti was a usurper of the throne of China, 
and murdered all who were of royal blood : he not only 
took the title of Chi-hoang-ti, or First Emperor, but he 
used every means to make the title permanent ; even 
issuing an order for all records previous to his time to 
be destroyed. 

He was especially anxious that the writings of Confu- 
cius and Mencius should be destroyed ; and fearing that 
some of the learned men might rewrite those works 
from memory, he caused one hundred of the literati to 
be executed. 



$4 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

64. A PUN THAT COST A LIFK 

According to Stowe, Sir William Collingborne was 
executed in 1484 for writing the following pun, which, 
\n his day, was considered excellent wit : — 

" The Rat, the Cat, and Lovel the dog, 
Rule all England under the Hog." 

This was during the reign of Richard III. of 
England. 

The chief agents of his wicked schemes were Catesby, 
Ratcliff, and Lovel. Lovel was a common name for a 
dog On the escutcheon of the king was a white boar. 



65. THE "PILLAR-SAINTS." 

These people were also called " Stylites " (Greek, 
stylos, a column) and " Air-Martyrs," and were a very 
remarkable class of ascetics, living chiefly in Syria, who, 
with a view to separating themselves more completely 
trom the earth and their fellow-men, took up their abode 
on the tops of pillars, upon which they remained during 
the rest of their lives. 

The earliest and most celebrated, called Simeon the 
Stylite, had been a monk, and had lived in the begin- 
ning of the fifth century in extreme seclusion. 

Finally he withdrew to a place forty miles from An- 
tioch, where he built a pillar, on the top of which he 
took up his abode, with his neck loaded with chains. 
From this pillar he removed to several others in suc- 
cession, each higher than the preceding one, until he 
attained a height of sixty feet. He died on this last 
pillar, A.D. 460, aged seventy-two years. 

Simeon the Stylite had many followers, the most 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 85 

celebrated of whom was named Daniel : he erected 
his pillar on the shores of the Bosphorus, four miles 
from the city of Constantinople, and maintained his 
mode of life for thirty-three years, in a most trying cli- 
mate, sometimes being covered with snow and ice. He 
lived until the year 494. 

In Syria there were many " Pillar-Saints;" but in the 
West, Daniel was the solitary representative. 

Tennyson has written a poem called "St. Simeon 
Stylites," which is in brief the story of the saint, his 
philosophy, his impulses, and his hopes, as told by 
himself : — 

"Then, that I might be more alone with Thee, 
Three years I hved upon a pillar, high 
Six cubits, and three years on one of twelve; 
And twice three years I crouched on one that rose 
Twenty by measure ; last of all, I grew, 
Twice ten long weary, weary years to this, 
That numbers forty cubits from the soil. 

Ah ! let me not be fooled, sweet saints : I trust 
That I am whole and clean, and meet for heaven. 
Speak, if there be a priest, a man of God, 
Among you there, and let him presently 
Approach, and lean a ladder on the shaft, 
And climbing up into my airy home, 
Deliver me the blessed sacrament ; 
For by the warning of the Holy Ghost, 
I prophesy that I shall die to-night, 
A quarter before twelve." 



66. THE SEVEN SLEEPERS OF EPHESUS. 

During the seventh persecution of the Christians 
under the Emperor Decius (A.D. 250), seven young 
men, converts to Christianity, refused to bow down 



86 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

before an idol erected by order of the Emperor at 
Ephesus. 

They fled to a cavern in Mount Celion ; and Decius, 
enraged at their escape, ordered all the caves in the 
mountain to be sealed up. 

Nothing was heard of the young men for two hun- 
dred and thirty years, when they were accidentally 
discovered by some workmen who were digging the 
foundation of a building. 

They awoke from their long sleep ; and the antiquity 
of the coin which they offered, that some one should 
bring them food, attracted the attention of the authori- 
ties. 

They died soon after being discovered; and their 
bodies were taken to Marseilles in a large stone coffin, 
still to be seen in St. Victor's Church. 

The preservation of these young men was declared 
to be a miracle, and the 27th of July was appointed as 
a festival day in honor of it. 

The names of the young men were, Constantine, 
Dionysius, John, Maximiam, Malchus, Martinian, and 
Serapion. 



67. GRANITE COLUMNS OF ST. MARK'S. 

In front of the quay and landing-steps of the Piazzeta, 
stand the two memorable granite columns associated 
with the fortunes of Venice for so many years. They 
were transported from the Holy Land in ii2obythe 
Doge Dominico Michiele. Originally there were three ; 
but, in landing them, one was lost in the mud of the 
lagoon; the other two were safely brought to shore, but 
remained prostrate on the quay for several years, before 
any one would undertake to raise them. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 8/ 

A reward offered by the Doge Sebastiano Ziani, at 
length induced one Nicolo Barratiero, or "Nick the 
Blackleg," to offer his services. 

He succeeded, and claimed for his remuneration the 
privilege of carrying on in the space between the col- 
umns those games of chance elsewhere prohibited by 
the Venetian law. 

The doge could not refuse : but, to neutralize the 
privilege, it was enacted that all public executions should 
thenceforth take place on the same spot ; hence, to the 
imaginative Venetians, it became so ominous, that even 
to cross it was indicative of a coming misfortune. 

When Marino Faliero was made doge, his gondoliers 
by some mischance landed him " between the columns," 
a circumstance which in the minds of the populace 
accounted for his sorrows, his treason, and his fate. 

One of the columns is surmounted by the Lion of 
St. Mark, holding the Gospel of St, Mark in his paw. 

The other column supports a fine figure of St. Theo- 
dore, the patron saint of the city, executed in 1329 by 
Pietro Guilombardo. 

He stands upon a crocodile ; a nimbus surrounds his 
head ; his right arm carries a buckler ; and his left 
wields a sword, intimating that Venice took for its motto 
" Defence, not Defiance," and drew the sword only to 
shield herself from attack. 



68. ORIGIN OF THE TERM " PIN-MONEY." 

By the term pin-money, is understood a lady's allow- 
ance for her own personal expenditure. 

For a long time after the invention of pins in the 
fourteenth century, the maker was allowed to' sell them 
only on the ist and 2d of January. 



88 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

They were so expensive for a long time, that none 
but the very wealthy ladies could use them ; and it be- 
came customary to give a certain sum of money to 
women at their marriage, for buying pins. 

On the 1st and 2d of January they flocked to the 
stores, provided with this money, which was thence 
called "pin-money." 

Since pins have become cheap and common, the 
ladies spend their allowance on other fancies ; but the 
term " pin-money " still remains in vOgue. 



69. THE JESUITS. 

Ignatius de Loyola, founder of the Order of Jesuits, 
or " Society of Jesus," was born in Guipuzcoa, Spain, 
in 1491. His real name was Inigo ; but he changed it 
in later life to Ignatius, its Latin form. 

He was first a page in the court of Ferdinand and 
Isabella, and afterward a soldier, until he was thirty 
years of age. 

He was severely wounded in the battle of Pampeluna, 
and while in the hospital read the "Lives of the Saints" 
and many religious books, which made him desire to 
lead a better life. He wished to become a priest at 
once ; but finding that he was too ignorant, he went to 
school with little boys when he was thirty-three years 
old. 

It was in the Church of the Virgin in Montserrat, 
that he hung up his arms, and vowed obedience to the 
Church. 

Finally in 1537 he became not only a priest, but the 
founder of the most celebrated order of the Roman 
Church, which it cost him great labor and urgency and 
constancy to establish. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 89 

He died in Rome when sixty-four years old, July 31, 
1556, and was canonized by the Pope in 1622, 

The Society is still governed by the original rules 
and constitution of St. Ignatius. 

The later history of the Society presents different 
aspects in different countries : it is therefore neces- 
sary to study separately, the history divided into three 
stages, — the Rise, the Suppression, and the Restora- 
tion of the Order of Jesuits. 

Even in countries where the Roman-Catholic Church 
has been established, to the exclusion of all other de- 
nominations, the Jesuits have been often oppressed, 
and in many cases banished. The fundamental princi- 
ple of the order is implicit obedience to the Pope. 



70. LAURA'S LOVER. 

" There is a tomb in Arqua ; — reared in air, 
Pillared in their sarcophagus, repose 
The bones of Laura's lover." 

This quotation is from Byron's " Childe Harold," 
Canto IV., and refers to Petrarch, the first and greatest 
lyric poet of Italy. He was born in Arezzo, July, 1304, 
and died at Arqua, July, 1374. 

The great event of his life (viewed in the light of its 
literary consequences) was his tenderly romantic and 
ultimately pure passion for Laura, the golden-haired, 
beautiful French woman. 

He met her on the 6th of April, 1327, in the Church 
of St. Clara in Avignon, and at once and forever fell 
deeply in love with her. The lady was then nineteen 
years old, and had been married for two years to a gen- 
tleman of Avignon, named Hugues de Sade. 

For ten years Petrarch lived near Laura in the papal 



90 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

city, and frequently met her at church, in society, and 
at festivities. 

He sang her beauty and his love in those sonnets 
which ravished the ears of his contemporaries, and have 
not yet ceased to charm. 

Laura was not insensible to a worship which made an 
emperor (Charles IV.) beg to be introduced to her, and 
to be allowed to kiss her forehead ; but she kept the too 
passionate poet at a proper distance. Only once did he 
dare make an avov/al of his love in her presence, and 
then he was sternly reproved. After her death he with- 
drew from Avignon, and passed the rest of his life in 
It%. 

A most brilliant honor was awarded him in Rome in 
1 34 1. Having written an epic poem entitled "Africa," 
on the Second Punic War, he was crowned, on Easter 
Day, in the Capitol, with the "laurel wreath" of a 
poet. 

His chief lyric, called the " Rime," in honor of 
Laura, was composed during a period extending over 
forty years. It consists of sonnets and madrigals ; and 
the later ones, written long after Laura had been laid in 
her grave, appear purified from all earthly taint, and 
have done as much to refine the Italian language as the 
"Divine Comedy " of Dante. 

Petrarch was not only far beyond his age in learning, 
but had risen above many of the prejudices and the 
superstitions of his time. 

He was found dead in his library, with his head rest- 
ing on his book {July i8, 1374). 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 9I 

7T. THE ELGIN MARBLES. 

The Elgin Marbles are a collection of ancient sculp- 
tures, chiefly from the Acropolis at Athens. 

About the year 1801, when Greece was under Turkish 
sway, they were obtained at great trouble and expense 
by Thomas, seventh Earl of Elgin, and transferred to 
England. They were purchased by the English Gov- 
ernment in 1 8 16, and are now in the British Museum. 

Those most appreciated are slabs of marble, with 
figures in relief, which constituted the frieze of the cell 
of the Parthenon ; and fifteen metopes representing the 
battle of the Centaurs and the Lapithse. 

The figures, mostly equestrian, represent the grand 
procession in honor of Minerva, which took place once 
in five years. 

This series of sculptures was executed by Phidias and 
by other Greek sculptors under his direction. 

Casts of the marbles are well known to students of 
art. 



72. THE EARTH. 

The motion of the earth is perpetual, while all artifi- 
cial motion is temporary. 

The one is irresistible, while resistance puts the 
other to rest. 

The earth is said to have three motions : first, upon 
its own axis ; secondly, around the sun ; thirdly, with the 
sun and planetary system it moves in a great revolution 
through space. 

The weight of the earth is forty-six hundred and 
forty-three trillions of tons (avoirdupois). Yet it moves 
at the rate of eleven hundred miles per minute, at a 



92 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

distance of ninety-five million miles from the sun, in 
an orbit of six hundred million miles, without effort or 
support, without the ruffling of a feather or the disturb- 
ance of a grain of dust, however minute or delicate. 



73. WILHELMINA. 

Wilhelmina was a Bohemian princess, who died in 
1282. 

" She appeared in Milan, and announced her gospel, 
a profane and fantastic parody, centring upon her- 
self the great tenet of the Fraticelli, the reign of the 
Holy Ghost. In her, the daughter, she averred, of 
Constance, Queen of Bohemia, the Holy Ghost was in- 
carnate. Her birth had its annunciation, but the angel 
Raphael took the place of the angel Gabriel. She was 
very God and very woman. She came to save Jews, 
Saracens, false Christians, as the Saviour the true 
Christians. Her human nature was to die as that of 
Christ had died. She was to rise again, and ascend into 
heaven. As Christ had left his vicar upon earth, so 
Wilhelmina left the holy nun Mayfreda. Mayfreda was 
to celebrate the mass at her sepulchre, to preach her 
gospel in the great church at Milan, afterwards at St. 
Peter's at Rome. She was to be a female pope, with 
full papal power to baptize Jews, Saracens, unbelievers. 
The four gospels were replaced by four Wilhelminian 
evangelists. 

" She was to be seen by her disciples, as Christ after 
his resurrection. Plenary indulgence was to be granted 
to all who visited the convent of Chiaravalle, as to those 
who visited the tomb of our Lord: it was to become the 
great centre of pilgrimage. Her apostles were to have 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 93 

their Judas, to be delivered by him to the Inquisition. 
But the most strange of all was, that Wilhelmina, 
whether her doctrines were kept secret to the initiate, 
lived unpersecuted, and died in peace and in the odor 
of sanctity. She was buried first in the Church of St. 
Peter in Orto : her body was afterwards carried to the 
convent of Chiaravalle. Monks preached her funeral 
sermon ; the saint wrought miracles, lamps and wax can- 
dles burned in profuse splendor at her altar ; she had 
three annual festivals ; her Pope Mayfreda celebrated 
mass. 

" It was not till twenty years after, that the orthodox 
of the Milanese clergy awoke in dismay and horror ; the 
wonder-working bones of St. Wilhelmina were dug up 
and burned ; Mayfreda, and one Andrea Saramita, expi- 
ated at the stake the long unregarded blasphemies of 
their mistress." 



74. THE "ILIAD" OF FRANCE. 

The " Romance of the Rose " is a poetical allegory 
begun by Guillaume de Lorris in the latter part of, the 
thirteenth century, and continued by Jean de Meung in 
the fourteenth century. 

The poet dreams that Dame Idleness conducts him 
to the Palace of Pleasure, where he meets Love, whose 
attendant maidens are Sweet Looks, Courtesy, Youth, 
Joy, and Competence : by them he is conducted to a 
bed of roses. 

He has just singled out one rose, when an arrow 
from Love's bow stretches him fainting on the ground, 
and he is carried away. 

When he comes to himself, he resolves to find his 
rose ; and Welcome promises to aid him. Shyness, 



94 CURIOUS QUESTIONS 

Fear, and Slander obstruct his way ; Reason advises 
him to give up the quest ; Pity and Kindness show him 
the object of his search ; but Jealousy seizes Welcome, 
and locks her in Fear Castle. Here the original poem 
ends. The sequel, longer than Homer's Iliad, takes 
up the tale at this point, and is an extraordinary mix- 
ture of erudition and satire ; at one time a history of 
heroes, then a disquisition upon the hoarding of money, 
astronomy, duties of mankind, etc. The poem reached 
the height of its popularity in the sixteenth century. 
Then writers were never tired of quoting and explain- 
ing it ; and some learned commentaries were written 
upon it, and passages often quoted from it in the pul- 
pit. The poem, which is a very learned but tedious 
one of twenty-two thousand verses, contains many im- 
moral passages, which so excited the animadversion of 
the Fathers of the Church, that, better literature being 
written, the romance finally lost its hold upon the 
French people. 



75. THE PANORAMA OF "THE BATTLE OF 
GETTYSBURG." 

This panorama represents the decisive battle which 
took place on the afternoon of July 3, 1863, between 
the Southern or Confederate troops under Gen. Lee, 
and the Union forces under the command of Gen. 
Meade, at Gettysburg, Penn. 

The battle resulted in the retreat of Gen. Lee, and 
the loss on his part of thirty thousand men ; while the 
National army lost more than twenty thousand men, 
but gained the victory. 

The author of this great work of art, Paul Philippo- 
teaux, was born in Paris in 1836, and is now among the 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 95 

foremost painters in Paris. The success of his pano- 
rama representing the " Siege of Paris " induced him 
to paint others, which have met with like success. 

In order to paint the panorama of Gettysburg, Paul 
Philippoteaux came to America, and spent several 
months on the battle-field, taking sketches and draw- 
ings of the country. He also consulted the official 
maps at Washington, and obtained from Generals Han- 
cock, Doubleday, and others, details of the battle as it 
took place. He then returned to Brussels, and was 
occupied for two years in painting this panorama. 

The canvas is four hundred feet long, and fifty feet 
high, or covering an area of twenty thousand square 
feet. 

A special fire-proof building was erected for it in 
Chicago, 111., where it is permanently located. 

The building is duo-octagonal in form, and the light 
so arranged as to produce a most wonderful optical illu- 
sion. The beholder, standing in the centre on a little 
platform, can hardly realize that he is not actually on 
the battle-field, surrounded by hills, highways, artillery, 
and battalions of soldiers, or that he is not looking 
miles away over green fields and valleys. 

Between the canvas and the platform the artist has 
placed some real earth, fallen trees, and cannon ; and 
the effect is so realistic, that it taxes the ingenuity of 
the beholder to tell where the real ends, and the paint- 
ing begins. 

The building cost forty thousand dollars, is a hun- 
dred and thirty-four feet in diameter, and ninety-six 
feet high. The walls are windowless, the light coming 
only through the roof in daytime ; while at night the 
building is brilliantly illuminated by electric lights. 

"The Chicago Times," Dec. 2, 1883, says, — 



96 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

"The panorama of 'The Battle of Gettysburg' is universally 
conceded by all who have seen it, to be the most extraordinary 
work of art ever seen in this city. 

" To describe it in words is impossible. It must be seen, in 
order to have any idea of its striking realistic effect." 



76. THE WAX FIGURES IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY. 

These wax figures, dressed in the costumes of the 
day, were carried in the funeral processions of great 
personages, and were left to mark the place of burial 
until funeral monuments could be erected. 

Among the effigies now remaining are those of Queen 
Elizabeth, Charles I., and Queen Philippa. They are 
kept in an alcove leading by a spiral stairway from 
Islip Chapel. The exhibition, at stated times, of these 
figures, called "The Play of the Dead-volk," was dis- 
continued only in 1839, and is the origin of the modern 
"wax-work" exhibition known as "Mrs. Jarley's." 

In the alcove with these wax figures is shown the 

box in which the remains of Major Andre were taken 

to England. 

« » ■ 

77. PASQUINADES. 

Pasquinades are anonymous publications, either 
printed or written, or sometimes only posted up, having 
for their object defamation of character or the turning 
of a person into ridicule. The statue of Pasquin in 
Rome is a famous place for placards of this description, 
the Pope and the cardinals being the favorite victims. 
The rival statue of Marforio in the Capitol, which for- 
merly stood near the Arch of Septimius Severus in the 
Forum, was made the vehicle for replying to the attacks 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 97 

of Pasquin : for many years they kept up an incessant 
fire of wit and repartee. 

The modern Romans seem to regard Pasquin as part 
of their social system : in the absence of a free press, 
he has become the organ of public opinion, and there is 
scarcely an event upon which he does not pronounce 
judgment. When Mezzofanti, the great linguist, was 
made a cardinal, Pasquin declared that it was a very 
proper appointment, because there could be no doubt 
that the " Tower of Babel " required an interpreter. 



78. "OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN." 

This title was first applied to Hassan Ben Sabbah, who 
founded a formidable dynasty in Syria, A.D. 1090. 

He was the prince, or chief, of a sect of the Moham- 
medans. 

Having been banished from his country, he took up 
his abode in Mount Lebanon, gathered around him a 
band of followers, who soon became the terror alike of 
Christians, Jews, and Turks. They paid the most im- 
plicit obedience to his commands, and believed that if 
they sacrificed their lives for his sake they would be 
rewarded with the highest joys of paradise. For two 
hundred years these " Assassins," as they called them- 
selves, continued to be the terror of the country. 

Whenever their chief, the "Old Man of the Moun- 
tain," considered himself injured, he despatched some 
of his assassins secretly to murder the aggressor. 
This is the origin of our use of the word assassin for 
a secret murderer. 



98 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

79. THE TAJ MAHAL. 

This magnificent mausoleum in Agra (or, as it is 
sometimes called, Akbarabad), India, was erected by 
Shah Jehan, to the memory of his favorite queen. 

It is octagonal in form ; the four sides which face the 
cardinal points being one hundred and thirty feet long, 
the others much smaller. It is built of the finest Jey- 
pore marble, finely polished ; and all the beautiful tints 
of the stone are retained. 

The roof is seventy feet high, and expands in the 
centre into a noble dome seventy feet in diameter, and 
one hundred and twenty feet high ; and when to the 
height of the dome is added the height of the building 
and terraces, it shows that the gilt crescent at its apex 
is two hundred and seventy feet from the ground level. 
This mausoleum is inlaid with jasper, cornelian, tur- 
quoise, agate, onyx, amethysts, and sapphires ; and it is 
said that the whole of the Koran is inlaid within its 
stately walls. 

The sarcophagus of the sultana is in a vault directly 
under the centre of the building, and near it that of the 
shah. 

There is no part of the exterior, except the dome, that 
is not covered with arabesques and inscriptions in black 
marble on the polished white of the surface. 

The great dome produces an echo that travellers pro- 
nounce to be the finest in the world. 

Of this echo, Bayard Taylor has said, — 

" A single musical note uttered by the voice floats and soars 
overhead in long, delicious undulations, fading away so slowly, 
that you hear it after it is silent, as you see, or seem to see, a lark 
you have been watching, after it is swallowed up in the blue vault 
©£ heaven." 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 99 

This magnificent edifice was commenced in 1630, and 
finished in 1647 J '^''^^l' during the seventeen years, 
twenty thousand workmen were constantly employed 
upon it. Every province of the empire contributed to 
its adornment, sending precious stones, of which a list 
was preserved in the public archives. 

Notwithstanding these free gifts and the forced labor 
of the workmen, the total cost was about twelve mil' 
lions of dollars. 

An English writer has said, — 

" Were there nothing to be seen in India but the Taj, it would 
be, for an artist or an architect, sufficient compensation for the 
long voyage ; for no pen can do justice to its incomparable beauty, 



80. THE HARLEIAN COLLECTION. 

This collection of valuable manuscripts, now in the 
British Museum, was purchased by Parliament for ten 
thousand pounds in the reign of George IV. The col- 
lection was formed by Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, 
an eminent statesman, and great patron of literature 
(1661-1724). It contains 7,639 volumes, exclusive of 
14,236 original rolls, charters, and other deeds. Al- 
though somewhat miscellaneous in its character, his- 
torical literature, in all its branches, forms one of its 
principal features. 

It is particularly rich in heraldric and genealogical 
manuscripts ; in accounts of visitations of countries, and 
of parliamentary and legal proceedings ; in English 
topographical collections ; in originals, copies, and 
calendars of ancient records ; in abbey registers ; in 
manuscripts of the classics, among which is one of the 
earliest known manuscripts of the Odyssey of Homer; 



lOO CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

in missals, antiphonaries, and other service-books of the 
Roman-Catholic Church ; and in ancient EngHsh poetry. 
It contains two very early copies of Latin Gospels, 
written in gold letters ; also a large number of splen- 
didly illuminated manuscripts, besides an extensive 
mass of correspondence. It further includes about 
three hundred manuscript Bibles, or biblical books in 
Hebrew, Chaldaic, Greek, Arabic, and Latin ; nearly 
two hundred volumes of writings of the Fathers of the 
Church ; and many works on the arts and sciences, 
among which is a tract on the steam-engine, with plans, 
diagrams, and calculations, by Sir Samuel Morland. 



8i. MOMUS. 

i 

Momus, in Greek fable, was the god of mockery and 
censure, and delighted in finding fault with gods and 
men. 

When Neptune, Minerva, and Vulcan strove to prove 
which was the most skilful artist, Momus was chosen 
as judge to decide among them. 

Neptune made a bull; Minerva, a house; and Vulcan, 
a man. 

Momus declared that Neptune should have put the 
horns of the bull nearer the front, that he might fight 
better; Minerva should have made her house movable, 
so that she could remove it in case she had troublesome 
neighbors ; Vulcan should have made a window in the 
man's breast, so that his thoughts could be seen. 

All were so disgusted with his criticism, that they 
turned him out of heaven ; and he died of grief be- 
cause he could find no imperfection in Venus. 

A chronic grumbler is therefore called "a Momus." 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. lOI 



82. THE CARROCCIO. 



The Carroccio was the great standard car of state 
and the sacred palladium of the Lombard Republic, 
and was invented about the year 1035. 

It was a strong car on four wheels, painted red, 
drawn by four pairs of milk-white oxen with splendid 
trappings of scarlet. 

In the centre of the car, raised upon a mast which 
was crowned with a golden ball, floated the banner of 
the republic : beneath it was an image of the Saviour 
extended upon the cross, as if to pour benediction 
upon the surrounding hosts. 

It was the custom whenever they took the field, to 
conduct the Carroccio into the midst of the army ; and 
its sight was supposed to inspire courage in the hearts 
of the combatants. Three hundred of the most distin- 
guished soldiers were appointed to guard it in the bat- 
tle, and the loss of it was considered the most grievous 
calamity and the greatest disgrace. 

In the Lombard Republic, to belong to the gallant 
Cohort of the Three Hundred was a great honor. Next 
in point of rank came nine hundred chosen men called 
the " Cohort of Death." 

Feelings of religion and military glory were strangely 
associated with the Carroccio, It was an imitation of 
the Jewish ark of the covenant, and from its platform 
the chaplain of the army administered Christian rites 
to the people. 

The thickest of the battle ever encircled the Carroc- 
cio : it guided the advance, and the duty of defending 
it insured order in a retreat. 

The liberty of Lombardy was secured by the battle of 
Legnano (1176), and the victory was due to the rallying 



I02 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

of the "Three Hundred" and the "Cohort of Death" 
around the Carroccio. 

The return of the Carroccio to Milan after this deci- 
sive battle (in which the disciplined forces of Germany, 
commanded by the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in 
person, gave way, and were defeated) was celebrated by 
eight days of festivity. 



83. "ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL." 

This saying has its origin in the rivalry between St. 
Peter's Cathedral (now Westminster Abbey) and St. 
Paul's Cathedral in London. 

In 1550 an appropriation was made from St. Peter's 
to make up a deficiency in the accounts of St. Paul's. 

This action met with much opposition, the people 
skying, " Why rob St. Peter to pay St. Paul 1 " 

The proverb was afterwards revived upon the death 
of William Pitt (Earl Chatham) in 1778. Each of the 
metropolitan cemeteries laid claim to the honor of his 
burial. The city of London argued that so great a 
statesman as William Pitt should be buried in St. 
Paul's ; while Parliament took the ground that the dust 
of so great a man as he should come near to the dust 
of kings, and that not to bury him in Westminster 
Abbey would again be " robbing St. Peter to pay St. 
Paul." 

The dispute resulted in favor of Westminster Abbey. 

William Pitt the elder was called the " Great Com- 
moner of England," but afterwards forfeited the title 
when he was made Earl of Chatham. 




A MAMELUKE 



Curious Questions. Vol. /., page loj. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. I03 

84. THE MAMELUKES. 

The Mamelukes were a body of soldiers who ruled 
Egypt for several hundred years. The name Mame- 
luke is taken from an Arab word meaning slave ; and 
these men were so called because originally they were 
young captives from Caucasian countries. In the mid- 
dle of the thirteenth century they were introduced into 
Egypt as the body-guard of the sultan ; but upon the 
accession of Turan Shah, who was so much hated by 
them, they overthrew and murdered him, and elected 
one of their own number sultan. 

For nearly three hundred years they monopolized 
that office ; and even when forced to give it up, they had 
great power in Egypt. The Mamelukes were very fine 
cavalry soldiers ; and when Napoleon saw their manoeu- 
vres at the "Battle of the Pyramids" in 1798, he said, 
that with Mameluke cavalry and French infantry, he 
could make himself master of the world. 

In 181 1 nearly all of the Mamelukes were massacred 
by Mohammed Ali. A few escaped to Nubia, but these 
were destroyed in 1820. 



85. THE "LIA FAIL." 

Mr. Glover states that the return of the " Lia Fail," 
or " Stone of Destiny," to Ireland, and the possession 
of it by the Irish nation, is made the vital spark and 
motive of the Fenian secret oath ; and that it is pre- 
eminently the household word of the political Irish life, 
and the longing of those who have joined this too little 
heeded conspiracy, the object of which seems to be the 
overthrow of the English authority in Ireland, and the 
establishment of a republic. 



104, CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

This historic stone, known in Scotland as the " Stone 
of Destiny," in Ireland as the " Lia Fail," in England 
as "Jacob's Pillar," and more generally as the " Scone," 
is claimed by the Irish nation to have been brought 
from Egypt to Ireland by a beautiful princess, who 
placed it in Tara's Hall in 580 B.C. 

It is at present fastened underneath the coronation 
chair in Westminster Abbey. The stone is of a dark 
color, streaked with red, and is twenty-six inches long, 
sixteen inches wide, and eleven inches thick. Its sur- 
face is much defaced ; and a long, deep crack almost 
divides it in two. Tradition says that this stone can 
be traced back to the plains of Luz, where Jacob laid 
his head upon it, and dreamed his " ladder-dream ; " that 
it was preserved in the temple as a witness of the cove- 
nant between Jacob and his God ; that it was carried to 
Egypt by the prophet Jeremiah after the Jews had 
been taken captives to Babylon ; and that it was car- 
ried from Egypt to Ireland, as has been said, by a prin- 
cess in 580 B.C. From Ireland it is said to have been 
taken to lona in A.D. 503, that Fergus, son of Ere, 
first king of the Scots, might be crowned upon it, as his 
ancestors in Ireland had been before him. 

History claims to know its story from the time of 
St. Columba of lona, who, when dying (A.D. 597), re- 
quested that his head might be placed upon it in token 
of his faith in its biblical history. 

From lona it was taken to Scone, Scotland, by King 
Kenneth (842), and enclosed in the present wooden 
chair, after the Scottish kings, having extended their 
power over the Picts, had transferred their royal resi- 
dence to Scone. 

The abbey of Scone had possession of this " Stone 
of Destiny" from A.D. 842 to 1296, and during these 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. IO'5 

four hundred and fifty-four years all the Scottish kings 
had been crowned upon it. From A.D. 1296 it has 
been in possession of the English. Edward I., King 
of England, having dethroned John Baliol, took with 
him to England all the relics of Scottish independence, 
this celebrated stone among the number. 

Robert Bruce stipulated for its restoration ; and, 
although Edward II, attempted to comply, he was pre- 
vented by a mob from restoring the stone to Scotland. 

For over five hundred years England's kings and 
queens have been crowned upon it ; and Queen Victo- 
ria, a direct descendant of James VI. of Scotland, has 
for more than forty years given her testimony to the 
truth of the couplet engraven upon the: stone: — 

" Where'er is found this sacred stone, 
The Scottish race shall reign." 



86. THE MOST CURIOUS BOOK IN THE WORLD. 

A book belonging to the family of Prince de Ligne, 
now in France, is said to be the most curious book in 
the world, because it is neither written nor printed. 

The letters of the text are cut out of each folio upon 
the finest vellum ; and, being interleaved with blue 
paper, it is as easily read as print. The labor bestowed 
upon it was excessive. 

Rudolph II. of Germany offered for it, in 1640, eleven 
thousand ducats, which is probably equal to sixty thou- 
sand dollars at this day. 

A remarkable circumstance connected with this lite- 
rary treasure, is that it bears the royal arms of Eng- 
land ; but it cannot be traced to have ever been in that 
country. 



I06 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

87. THE THIRD PICTURE OF THE WORLD. 

The "Martyrdom of St. Peter, Martyr" is the great 
chef-d' ceuvre of Titian, and classed by many as the 
third picture of the world. It was painted for the 
Church of San Zanipolo. The subject of this vast 
composition is the death of a Dominican monk named 
Pietro di Verona, who was assassinated in a wood while 
returning with another monk from some council of his 
order. He was canonized, and his tragic death recorded 
among the best authenticated legends. 

No honor that could have been paid to this picture 
has been wanting. 

The Senate of Venice, learning that a certain party 
had offered to pay eighteen thousand crowns for it, 
made a special decree, forbidding the Dominican monks, 
under penalty of death, to allow it to go out of the ter- 
ritory of the republic. 

Domenichino made a copy of it, but the copy did not 
attain to the grandeur of the original. It was carried 
to Paris after the conquest of Venice, and there re- 
stored to its original beauty, by being taken off the 
worm-eaten wood, and placed on new and durable can- 
vas. 

The picture represents the martyr stretched upon 
the ground, helplessly extending his arm towards the 
murderer who is about to deal the fatal blow ; but the 
tragic horror of the picture is concentrated in the figure 
of the saint's companion, who, overcome by terror, is 
taking refuge in flight. 

The natural and skilful arrangement of the scenery, 
heightened by the incomparable coloring of Titian, 
combines to justify. Vasari in saying, "Titian never in 
all his life produced a more skilful or finished work." 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. lO/ 

The original picture was destroyed by fire in 1867, in 
the Chapel of the Rosario, having been placed there 
temporarily while the altar of the church was being re- 
paired. The copy hangs in its place. Some one gives 
its era thus : " Painted when Luther was at his zenith, 
it perished in the days of Garibaldi." 

Titian was born in 1477, and died in 1576. 



THE KEY OF DEATH. 



The " Key of Death " is apparently a large key, which 
is shown among the weapons at the arsenal at Venice. 

It was invented by Tibaldo, who, disappointed in love., 
designed this instrument for the destruction of his rival. 

The key is so constructed that the handle may be 
turned around, revealing a small spring, which being 
pressed, a very fine needle is driven with considerable 
force from the other end. This needle is so. very fine, 
that the flesh closes over the wound immediately, leav- 
ing no mark ; but the death of the victim is almost in- 
stantaneous. 



89. POMPEII. 



" I stood within the city disinterred, 
And heard the autumnal leaves like light footfalls 
Of spirits passing through the streets." 

Shelley. 

The beautiful town of Pompeii was in its full glory 
at the commencement of the Christian era, and was a 
city of wealth and refinement, having thirty-five thou- 
sand inhabitants. 

The town was beautifully located at the foot of 
Mount Vesuvius, on the bay of Naples. 



I08 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

The whole district is volcanic ; and a few years before 
the final catastrophe (A.D. 63), an earthquake had 
shaken Pompeii to its foundations. 

On Aug. 24, A.D. 79, occurred that terrific eruption 
of Mount Vesuvius which in one day overwhelmed the 
cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Stabiae. 

For more than sixteen hundred years Pompeii lay 
undisturbed in its bed of ashes and hardened mud from 
twenty to seventy feet deep. In 1689 some antique 
bronzes and utensils were discovered there by a peas- 
ant, but it was not until 1755 that excavations were 
begun. These have been assiduously prosecuted, until 
to-day three hundred and sixty houses, temples, thea- 
tres, schools, stores, factories, etc., have been thrown 
open before us with their treasured contents, thereby 
giving us a perfect picture of a city of eighteen hundred 
years ago. 

The remains found are in a remarkable state of pres- 
ervation, owing to the fact that the city was destroyed, 
not by lava, but by showers of ashes, sand, and cinders, 
which penetrated into every nook, and, as it were, her- 
metically sealed up the town. 

The excavations were commenced in 1785 by order 
of Charles III., and have been carried on by the Neo- 
politan Government ever since. 

In 1 8 16 Ferdinand I. appropriated the museum at 
Naples for the reception of the spoils from Pompeii and 
Herculaneum. 

A number of halls, entirely occupied by frescoes and 
mosaics chiefly found at Pompeii, are called the Pom- 
peian Halls. Bulwer's " Last Days of Pompeii " con- 
tains a fine description of the eruption which destroyed 
the city, and of its present appearance. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. IO9 

" Nearly seventeen centuries had rolled away when the city of 
Pompeii was disinterred from its silent tomb, all vivid with un- 
dimmed hues ; its walls fresh as if painted yesterday, not a line 
faded on the rich mosaic of its floors, in the forum the half-fin- 
ished columns as left by the workmen's hand, in its gardens the 
sacrificial tripod, in its halls the chest of treasure, in its baths 
the strigil, in its theatre the counter of admission, in its saloons 
the furniture and the lamp, in its triclinia the fragments of the 
last feast, in its cubicula the perfumes and the rouge of fated 
beauty, and everywhere the bones and skeletons of those who 
once moved the springs of that minute yet gorgeous machine of 
luxury and life." 



90. THE ORIGINAL JEANIE DEANS. 

The original of Jeanie Deans in Sir Walter Scott's 
" Heart of Mid-Lothian " was Helen Walker, a young 
Scotch girl. She was left an orphan with the charge 
of a sister considerably younger than herself, whom she 
maintained and educated by her own exertions. 

Attached to her by so many ties, it will not be hard 
to conceive Jeanie Deans's feelings when she found 
that this only sister must be tried by the laws of her 
country for child-murder, and that she was called as 
principal witness against her. It was impossible for 
her to swear to a falsehood, and by her testimony her 
sister was found guilty and condemned to death. 

By the laws of Scotland, six weeks must elapse be- 
tween the pronouncing of a sentence and its execution. 

On the very day of her sister's condemnation, Helen 
Walker had a petition drawn up, stating the peculiar 
circumstances of the case, and set out on foot for 
London. 

Arrived there, she presented her petition to the Duke 
of Argyle, who was so much impressed with her bravery 
and devotion to her sister, that he procured the pardon 



no. CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

she asked for; and Helen returned with it just in time 
to save her sister's life. 

The lady from whom Sir Walter Scott obtained this 
story, Mrs-. Goldie, was extremely anxious to have a 
tombstone, with an appropriate inscription upon it, 
raised to the memory of Helen Walker ; and she re- 
quested Scott to write the inscription, which request he 
willingly complied with. 

The tombstone with his inscription may be seen in 
the churchyard of Iron Gray, about six miles from 
Dumfries, Scotland, where Helen Walker lies buried. 



91. THE GATES OF PARADISE. 

After the plague which visited Florence, Italy, in 
the year 1400, had subsided, the people decided, as a 
thank-offering, to add bronze gates to the baptistery of 
the Church of St. John the Baptist. 

The Guild of Merchants, to whom the church be- 
longed, invited a competition of the artists of the 
day. 

Six artists shared the contest with Ghiberti, among 
them Brunelleschi. One year was allowed for them 
to complete a model. Thirty-four foreign and native 
artists were appointed as a deciding committee. Ghi- 
berti's work was considered faultless ; and the contract 
was awarded to him on the 23d of November, 1403. A 
number of other artists were assigned to help him. 
The work lasted twenty-one years. On the 19th of 
April, 1424, both folding-doors were hung on their 
hinges. The work was so eminently satisfactory, that 
the Guild decided that a third door should be consigned 
to him also. He was no longer to be bound to a sino:le 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. Ill 

model ; the only condition in the contract being, that, so 
long as he was working at the door, he was to accept 
no other commission without the consent of the Guild 
of Merchants ; otherwise, as concerned time and cost, 
he was left to his own will. The door was completed 
and conveyed to its place June i6, 1452 : and not long 
afterwards Lorenzo Ghiberti died (1455) ; the principal 
part of his life, amounting to seventy-four years, having 
been devoted to these two works. 

The second door surpassed the first in every respect, 
and was the first important creation of Florentine art, 
the influence of which appears evident upon Michael 
Angelo. 

The creation of Adam, the drunkenness of Noah, and 
the death of Goliath, painted by Michael Angelo on the 
ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, owe their primary idea to 
the small figures of Ghiberti's compositions. Michael 
Angelo said of these doors, "They are worthy to be the 
gates of paradise. 

The history of the Old Testament is represented in 
ten large panels : — 

1. The creation of Adam. 

2. Adam and Eve driven out of Eden. 

3. Noah's thank-offering after the Deluge. 

4. Abraham's sacrifice on Mount Moriah. 

5. Esau's renunciation of his birthright. 

6. Joseph and his brethren, 

7. Moses in the presence of the Lord on Sinai. 

8. Joshua before Jericho. 

9. David and Goliath. 

10. The Queen of Sheba at Solomon's court. 

This must always be considered one of the grandest 
works of modern art. Plaster casts of these wonderful 
doors, or gates, have been brought to America. Two 



112 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 



bronze doors on a similar plan are in the Capitol at 
Washington, illustrating in one the life of Columbus, 
in the other the life of Washington. 



92. 



"THERE'S MANY A SLIP 'TWIXT THE CUP 
AND THE LIP." 



Ancseus, king of the Leleges in Samos (an island in 
the Grecian Archipelago), planted a vineyard ; and so 
heavily did he oppress his slaves, that one of them, it is 
said, prophesied to him that he would never live to taste 
the wine thereof. When the wine was made, the king 
sent for his slave, and said, "What do you think of your 
prophecy now.''" The slave made answer, "There's 
many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip :" the words were 
scarcely uttered when Ancaeus was informed that a wild 
boar had broken into his vineyard, and was laying it 
waste. Ancaeus, setting down the cup untasted, has- 
tened to attack and drive out the boar; but he was 
killed in the encounter. 



93- 



CRUELTY OF IVAN THE TERRIBLE. 



Ivan IV. of Russia, called the Terrible, was the son 
of Vassili V. When his father died he was but a 
child ; and his mother Helena, contrary to the Russian 
custom, made herself regent, and for four years held 
her position, putting down all opposition with terrible 
cruelty. 

In 1537 she was poisoned; and the regency was seized 
by the Shuiski, a powerful family who had received 
many humiliations at the hands of the grand princes, 
and who now avenged themselves by heaping all man- 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. II3 

ner of insults on the young Ivan, They punished all 
opposition to their power with relentless cruelty ; and 
Ivan saw his friends dragged from his presence, and put 
to death, notwithstanding his entreaties. 

In 1543, when the Czar was fourteen years old, the 
Shuiski were overthrown by the Gluiski, another promi- 
nent family, who pursued the same course of cruelty 
and despotism, but thrust the Czar forward, and robbed 
and killed and tortured in his name. 

They applauded and encouraged the development of 
his naturally cruel nature. It became his favorite 
amusement to torture wild animals, and to throw tame 
ones down from the summit of his palace. 

In 1547 the Gluiski were driven out and massacred 
by the people of Moscow, and for the next thirteen 
years Russia enjoyed peace and quiet. 

In 1560 the Czarina Anastasia, to whom Ivan was 
much attached, died ; and at about the same time Ivan 
was seized with a terrible illness which nearly proved 
fatal, but from which he recovered, though he showed 
symptoms of insanity, and would break forth into fright- 
ful fits of rage on the slightest provocation. 

He delighted to inflict suffering on his people ; and in 
Novgorod, in the year 1570, he put sixty thousand of 
his subjects to death. 

" He butchered with his own hand a throng of the 
unfortunate people whom he heaped together in a vast 
enclosure ; and when at last his strength failed to 
second his fury, he gave up the remainder to his select 
guard, to his slaves, and to his dogs." 

In Moscow five hundred of the most illustrious of 
the nobles were tortured and put to death. 

Women were not spared any more than men, and 
hundreds of them were hung in their own doorways. 



114 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

At length a number of subjects, headed by his eldest 
son, presented a supplication for mercy, which greatly 
enraged Ivan ; and with a single blow of his iron-bound 
staff he laid his son dead at his feet. His remorse for 
this deed greatly hastened his death, which occurred in 
1584. 

In spite of his madness and tyranny, Ivan IV. did 
more for the greatness of Russia than any of his pre- 
decessors. 

He organized the first standing army, concluded com- 
mercial treaties with England, and induced many Eng- 
lishmen and Germans to settle in his empire. 

In 1569 he set up the first printing-office in Moscow, 
He was the first ruler to assume the title of czar. 

Rurik is justly regarded as the founder of the Russian 
Empire, A.D. 862 : he gave the country the name of 
Russia from the tribe to which he belonged. 

Rurik reigned for fifteen years with Novgorod as his 
capital, and died 879. 

During the reign of his successors, Russia was divided 
into numerous principalities. Ivan III., called "Ivan the 
Great," succeeded in re-uniting Russia, and was the first 
to assume the title of "Autocrat of all the Russias." 
His statesmanship was of the Macchiavellian order, but 
resulted in the establishment of his authority over the 
whole of Russia. He died in 1505, aged sixty-seven 
years. 



94. THE KORAN. 

The word Koran in the Arabic language signifies 
"the reading." 

That Mohammed is the real author of the Koran, 
there is no doubt ; but the Mohammedans steadfastly 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. II5 

deny it to be the work of their prophet, the orthodox 
among them believing it to be of divine origin. Mo- 
hammed left his "revelations" written upon palm-leaves 
and skins, which were thrown promiscuously into a 
chest, bearing no dates, but merely the places of reve- 
lation ; some marked Mecca, and some Medina. 

Three years after the death of the prophet, in 635, 
Abu-Bekr collected and published these articles in the 
form of what is now called the Koran. It is as highly 
esteemed among the Mohammedans as the Bible is 
among Christians ; and among that people of theocratic 
views, it still serves, both for "law and gospel." 



95. BUDDHISTIC MONUMENTS. 

Under the name of topes are included the most im- 
portant class of Buddhist architecture in India. They 
consist of detached pillars, towers, and tumuli, all of a 
sacred or monumental character. 

The word tope is a corruption of the Sanscrit sthupa, 
meaning a mound, heap, or cairn. The oldest topes 
are in the shape of cupolas, generally spherical-, resting 
on a cylindrical base which sometimes rises in terraces. 
The cupola is surmounted by a roof in the shape of a 
parasol, the emblem of Hindoo royalty : on some of the 
topes of Sanchi there are three and live parasols. 

There are nine hundred of these topes in India, 
nearly all within the presidency of Bombay. They are 
generally in the vicinity of a temple or a convent. 

In the interior of the tope is the cell where the box 
containing the remains of the departed one and the 
" seven precious things " are placed. This cell consists 
of six slabs of stone, firmly closed after the box has 



Il6 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

been placed in it, which is done when the structure has 
attained a certain height. The building is then com- 
pleted so that the cell is enclosed on all sides by solid 
masonry. 

The " seven precious things " referred to are gold, 
silver, lapis-lazuli, crystal, red-pearl, diamonds, and 
coral, with which the body of the deceased person is 
ornamented. 

The cupola is intended to represent a water-bubble, 
the Buddhistic symbol of the perishability of the world. 
The parasol is the emblem of Hindoo royalty, or of the 
royal dignity possessed by a Buddhistic saint. 



96. MARY'S LAMB. 



The "Mary" that "had a little lamb" was a Massa- 
chusetts girl ; and her lamb was one of twins, thrust out 
of the pen by its unnatural mother. 

Mary took it home, and cared for it ; and it became a 
great pet in the family. One morning when it was to 
be taken to pasture, it could nowhere be found; but as 
Mary went singing on her way to school, it heard her 
voice, and followed her. 

At the schoolhouse door, for fear it would stray away, 
she picked it up, and managed to carry it secretly to 
her desk, where it lay quietly covered with her shawl 
until she was called to her spelling-class, when the lamb 
got up, and pattered after her. The children laughed, 
and the teacher reproved, until her explanation was 
given, when he very kindly allowed her to take her pet 
home. 

It happened on that morning that a young man 
named Rowlston, the son of a riding-master in Boston, 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. II7 

who was fitting himself for Harvard, was at school ; and 
a few days after, he produced three verses of the poem. 
How it ever came to be published, Mary did not know ; 
for the young man died soon after, ignorant of the im- 
mortality of his verses. 

The lamb lived many years, and came to its death by 
the horns of an angry cow. 



97. THE MAROONS. 

These people were the descendants of the African 
slaves brought to the island of Jamaica by the Spaniards. 
The island of Jamaica was discovered by Columbus in 
1494. It is about the size of the State of Connecticut, 
with a mountain range running through the island, ris- 
ing in some places to a mile in height. The name 
Jamaica means "The Isle of Springs." 

During the conquest of Jamaica by the English, the 
Maroons, deserted by their masters, fled to the moun- 
tain fastnesses, where they lived a fierce and wild life. 

Their numbers being daily increased by accessions of 
deserting slaves, they soon became formidable to the 
white inhabitants, whom they plundered and assassi- 
nated. In 1738 an agreement was entered into by 
which they secured their independence, and they main- 
tained it for one hundred and forty years ; but the 
English finally determined to get rid of them from the 
island, and barbarously resorted to the use of blood- 
hounds. 

One hundred of these ferocious creatures were im- 
ported from Cuba, and, under the direction of experi- 
enced huntsmen, were let loose upon the mountaineers, 
to seize and tear them to pieces. 



Il8 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Thus hemmed in on every side, and hunted down like 
wild animals, the poor Maroons had no alternative 
except submission. 

Only about six hundred escaped : they were trans- 
ported from the burning climate of Jamaica to the bleak 
shores of Nova Scotia, and there they miserably per- 
ished. 

In 1833 the English Government emancipated all 
slaves in the West Indies, requiring still a period of 
apprenticeship, and making an allowance to owners of 
about nineteen pounds for each slave, in a slave popu- 
lation of 309,338. 



98. WHITTIER'S "PENNSYLVANIA PILGRIM." 

Francis Daniel Pastorius, the " Pennsylvania Pil- 
grim," was the founder and first settler of Germantown, 
Philadelphia. 

He, in company with a small number of German 
Friends, bought of William Penn a large tract of land 
between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. They 
divided it into four hamlets, and Pastorius became the 
head and law-giver of the Germantown settlement. In 
the year 1688 he drew up a memorial from the Quaker 
meeting of Germantown against slaveholding. It is 
noteworthy as the first protest made by a religious body 
against negro slavery. 

Pastorius left many published and unpublished works, 
and was honored and beloved in his Germantown home. 

He is buried in the Friends' Burying-Ground at Ger- 
mantown, but no tombstone records the date of birth 
and death of one so important in the early history of 
the place. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 19 

99. THE MOSCOW CATHEDRAL. 

The great Moscow cathedral, lately completed, has 
cost more than eleven million dollars, and will accommo- 
date ten thousand worshippers. It is, says " The Lon- 
don Times," one of the most remarkable churches in 
Europe, 

Not many cathedrals can boast of having been built 
in a lifetime ; but there are Russians still living who 
saw the French army depart from Moscow, to com- 
memorate which event the Church of St. Saviour has 
been erected. In less than three months after the re- 
treat of the foe, a decree went forth from Alexander I., 
that a memorial temple should be built ; and five years 
later the foundations were laid, but not on the present 
site. The emperor accepted plans, which, had they 
been carried out, would have given to Russia the 
highest building in the world ; namely, seven hundred 
and seventy-six feet, on the Sparrow Hills, between the 
routes of the entrance and departure of Napoleon : but 
the undertaking for a while collapsed ; and the architect 
and building committee, after expending or misappro- 
priating upwards of four million rubles, were banished, 
and their estates confiscated. 

The Emperor Nicholas adopted new plans, and chose 
the present site, which has cost, with embankments, 
terrace, etc, upwards of one hundred and eighty thou- 
sand pounds, and where, at the outset, a nunnery had to 
be removed, and seventy thousand cubic feet of earth to 
be displaced, before, on the 27th of July, 1839, ^^ 1^7" 
ing of the foundations was commenced. The building 
continued slowly to rise for twenty years ; and in 1858 
the scaffolding was removed, this latter item alone hav- 
ing cost two hundred and seventy-seven thousand rubles, 



I20 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Or upwards of forty thousand pounds. A quarter of a 
century has been expended on fittings and decoration. 

The style is ancient Russian, or, rather, Graeco-Byzan- 
tine ; the most striking feature of which, to a western 
eye, on the exterior is the five cupolas, for the gilding 
of which were required nine hundred pounds of gold, 
their total cost being upward of one hundred and sev- 
enty thousand pounds. The domes are surmounted by 
crosses ; the centre one, nearly thirty feet high, standing 
three hundred and forty feet from the ground. The 
building covers an area of seventy-three thousand 
square feet. The bells, as usual in Russia, are of pon- 
derous weight. The largest, or " holy-day " bell, weighs 
twenty-six tons, or half as much again as "Great Paul." 
Even the second, or " Sunday " bell, is within a ton's 
weight of our bantling; while the smallest of the "every- 
day" bells descends to about thirty pounds. The cost 
of the peal was upwards of thirteen thousand pounds. 



loo. THE SPHINX. 



" What animal walks on four legs in the morning, 
two at noon, and three at night .-* " 

The Theban Sphinx was a monster sent by Juno to 
lay waste the neighborhood of Thebes in Boeotia. It 
had the head and bust of a woman, the body of a dog, 
the tail of a serpent, the wings of a bird, the paws of a 
lion, and a human voice. 

This terrible monster soon became the terror of the 
country, by proposing the riddle above quoted, and by 
devouring all who could not explain it. In the midst of 
the general consternation, the Oracle told the people 
that the Sphinx would destroy itself as soon as the rid- 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 121 

die was explained. Upon hearing this, Creon, King of 
Thebes, promised his crown and his sister Jocasta in 
marriage to him who should explain the riddle, and thus 
rid the country of this monster. 

QEdipus, attracted by the fame of the Sphinx riddle, 
made a visit to Thebes. He came to the monster, and 
explained that man " in the morning " of life walks 
upon his hands and feet, "at noon" he walks upon his 
two legs erect, and " in the evening " he supports the 
infirmities of old age with a staff. 

As soon as the Sphinx heard this explanation, she 
dashed her head against a rock, and expired. 

QEdipus became King of Thebes, and married Jo- 
casta. 

Some writers on mythology wish to unriddle the 
Sphinx riddle by the supposition that one of the daugh- 
ters of Laius laid v/aste the country of Thebes with her 
continual depredations, because she had been refused a 
part of her father's possessions. The lion's paw ex- 
pressed (as they say) her cruelty, the body of the dog 
her lasciviousness, her wings the despatch she used in 
her expeditions, and her enigmas the snares she laid 
for strangers and travellers. 



loi. BURIAL OF GEN. KELLERMAN'S HEART. 

Francois Christophe Kellerman, Duke of Valmy and 
Marshal of France, was born, according to some ac- 
counts, at Strasbourg, and according to others, near 
Rothenburg, Bavaria, May 30, 1735. 

He entered the French army as a volunteer, and 
served in the Seven Years' War, and in the Polish 
expedition of Louis XV. in 1771. 



122 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 



In 1789 he embraced the cause of the Revolution, 
and in 1791 became general of the army in Alsace. 

In August, 1792, he was made commander of the 
Army of the Centre, with orders to effect a connection 
with Dumouriez in Champagne. 

The invading army of Prussians was marching to 
attack the almost defenceless city of Paris, with perfect 
confidence of success, when Kellerman, who saw how 
important it was that they should not accomplish their 
purpose, by a series of brilliant manoeuvres joined his 
forces with those of Dumouriez : then by his daring 
and bravery, though his army numbered but forty-seven 
thousand men, he routed the allies, numbering a hun- 
dred and fifty thousand, on the field of Valmy, and 
saved Paris. 

When Napoleon came into power, Kellerman was 
successively made senator. Marshal of France, and 
Duke of Valmy. 

In 1814 he voted for the deposition of the emperor, 
and became a peer under the royal goyernment. 

Kellerman always considered the battle of Valmy, 
though not a sanguinary battle, the most important of 
his many engagements. On his death-bed he requested 
that his body should be buried in Paris, and his heart 
on the field where the battle had taken place, that it 
might repose with his old comrades-in-arms. He died 
in Paris, Sept. 12, 1820. France now calls herself a 
republic. She first assumed that title on the 26th of 
September, 1792, the very day on which the battle 
of Valmy was fought and won. To that battle the 
democratic spirit owes its preservation ; and its influ- 
ence has been felt ever since, and even at the present 
day. The "republic" of 1792 became the consulate 
of 1799, and the empire of 1804, both democratic in 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 23 

theory, at least. The return of the Bourbons, in 181 5, 
was but an episode in the march of democracy in 
France. Louis PhiHppe was a " citizen king;" Louis 
Napoleon, a declining ray of his uncle's glory ; and 
France is to-day a republic again, in reality and in 
name. 



102. PLOT OF THE OPERA "LOHENGRIN." 

The scene of the opera " Lohengrin " (Knight of 
the Swan) is laid in Antwerp, Belgium, in the early 
part of the tenth century. 

Henry I., King of Germany, surnamed the " Fowler," 
has arrived at Antv/erp with the intention of repelling 
the Hungarians, who have threatened to invade his 
dominions. 

He finds Brabant in a state of anarchy. Godfrey, 
the young son of the late duke, has disappeared ; and 
his sister, Elsa, is accused by her guardian, Frede- 
rick of Telramund, of murdering him. Frederick now 
claims to be the ruler of the duchy by right of his 
wife Ortrud. Elsa, appearing before King Henry I., 
asserts her innocence ; and it is agreed that the cause 
shall be decided by a judicial combat between Frede- 
rick and any champion who may appear on behalf of the 
accused. When Elsa's cause seems almost hopeless, a 
knight appears, ascending the river Scheldt in a boat 
drawn by a single swan, which, after having landed, he 
dismisses. He undertakes her defence ; Elsa promising 
that if he is victorious she will bestow upon him her 
hand, and never question him as to his name or origin. 

In the combat which ensues, Frederick is stricken to 
the ground by his unknown antagonist, and then de 
prived of his title and estate. 



124 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Preparations are made for the immediate marriage of 
the stranger with Elsa ; but, while all is revelry in the 
abode of the knights, Frederick and Ortrud are with- 
out, plotting how they may revenge and recover their 
lost honors. 

Ortrud at last presents herself at the kemenate, or 
abode of the ladies, gains admission, and secures the 
favor of Elsa, who promises to obtain the pardon of 
Frederick. She also listens to the suggestions of Or- 
trud, that she ought to inquire into the name and ori- 
gin of her future husband, who, without a ducal title, 
has been appointed Protector of Brabant. As the nup- 
tial procession approaches the cathedral, the conspira- 
tors reveal themselves in their true characters ; Ortrud 
opposing Elsa at the door, and Frederick declaring the 
unknown knight to be a sorcerer who has gained his 
victory by unfair means. The intruders are expelled 
by the king and people, and the marriage takes place ; 
but when the bride and bridegroom are left alone, Elsa, 
roused by the evil suggestions of Ortrud, begins, not- 
withstanding her promise, to question the knight, who 
in vain endeavors to allay her suspicions. Frederick, 
who enters the room, and is about to assail his former 
antagonist, is slain by him. 

On the following morning the explanation so un- 
wisely solicited by Elsa is given in the presence of the 
king. 

The knight is the son of King Percival, keeper of 
the mysterious cup known as the "Holy Grail," to 
whose service he is attached ; and his name is Lohen- 
grin. It IS to the Grail that he is indebted for his 
invisible power ; but now that all is revealed, he must 
no longer remain in Brabant. 

The swan returns with the boat to bear him away ; 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 25 

but iie removes a gold chain from its neck, and in its 
stead appears tlie youth Godfrey, who had been changed 
to a swan by the sorceress Ortrud. 

Godfrey is now declared the rightful Duke of Bra- 
bant ; while Lohengrin departs, to the intense grief of 
his bride, the king, and the people. 

This opera was composed while, for political reasons, 
Wagner was residing in Switzerland in 1848. 

The words of the libretto, as of all Wagner's operas, 
are of his own composition. 



103. MICHAEL ANGELO'S VOW, 

Cardinal Farnesina engaged Raphael to decorate the 
Farnesian mansion on the banks of the Tiber. 

Raphael agreed to undertake the work on condition 
that no one should be allowed to inspect it until it was 
completed. Much curiosity was excited by this secrecy, 
and the following story has been current: Michael 
Angelo determined to gain access to the mansion, and 
took an oath that he would put a stop to Raphael's 
work. 

With this end in view, having found that Raphael 
came late to work, he disguised himself as a vender of 
wine and biscuit, and started toward the palace crying 
his wares. 

Going in and out among the workmen who were 
employed about the palace, he soon found the scaffold- 
ing and wall made ready for the painter. 

After engaging the attention of the men with the 
wine and biscuit, he ascended the scaffolding, and drew 
upon the wall a gigantic head of Jupiter, then hurriedly 
left the building : his vow was accomplished. When 



126 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 



Raphael came, he instantly exclaimed, upon seeing the 
head, " Michael Angelo ! " and left the palace, never to 
return. The drawing, covered with glass, is still on 
exhibition in the Farnesian Palace. [Of course, this story 
is not now credited.] 



104. THE NECK-VERSE. 

William Rufus, the second of the Norman kings of 
England, established" what was called the " Benefit of 
the Clergy," by which any one condemned to death 
could save .his life by proving that he could read. 

The first verse of the fifty-first psalm was chosen as 
the test to be read, hence it was called the " Neck- 
Verse." 

This law continued in force from the year 1087 until 
the close of Queen Anne's reign in the year 1700; 
although for a long period it had fallen into desuetude, 
and even become a dead letter. 



105. MARIAN GAMES. 

The year 932 was signalized by the remarkable event 
celebrated in song and story as the " Loss and Recap- 
ture of the Brides of Venice." 

It is a curious illustration of the manners of a stormy 
and stirring time. A custom had long prevailed, that 
every year on St. Mary's Eve all the brides in Venice 
were to be married ; so that there was but one marriage 
day each year for the nobles of the whole nation. 

Each maiden brought her dowry with her in a small 
cassetta (chest). They went first to the church, and 
waited for the youths, who having come, mass was cele- 
brated, and the bishop preached, and blessed them. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 12/ 

The bridal costume was always white, the hair flow- 
ing loosely over the shoulders interwoven with threads 
of gold. Gondolas, beautifully decked with flowers and 
flags, and gay with music, bore the procession of brides 
to the Church of San Pietro. 

The sea-rovers of Trieste, not ignorant of the custom, 
had this year concealed themselves during the night in 
an uninhabited locality called Olivolo ; and, as soon as 
the cortege and the beautiful brides had entered the 
cathedral, they leaped from their hiding-places, burst 
open the sacred doors, rushed into the midst of the 
dismayed multitude with flashing swords, and seizing 
the weeping, shrieking maidens, carried them to their 
barks, and hoisted sail for Trieste. 

The doge (Candiano II.), who was present at the 
festival, arose in a storm of indignation, and summoned 
the men to arms. 

Leaping into a few vessels, hastily put at their dispo- 
sal by the Corporation of Trunkmakers, they plied their 
oars lustily in pursuit of the rovers. They overtook 
them in a creek still known as the " Porto delle Don- 
zelle." Candiano led the attack, and the Venetians 
fought with such fury that not one of the sea-rovers 
escaped their swords. 

The brides were brought back to the city in triumph ; 
and in the evening of that eventful day the nuptial 
rites, so strangely interrupted, were celebrated with 
unusual pomp. 

In memory of this event, a solemn procession of 
twelve young women took place yearly, and was at- 
tended by the doge and the priests to the Church of 
Santa Maria Formosa, in the trunkmakers' quarter. 

The tradition runs, that, when the Doge Candiano 
proposed to reward the trunkmakers for the use of the 



128 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

vessels, this andatUy or anniversary, was all they would 
accept. 

The Marian Games, La Feste delle Marie as they 
were called, were observed with great splendor until 
the year 1379, the epoch of the disastrous war of Chioz- 
zia, when they were discontinued, and soon lapsed into 
desuetude. 

It was the custom to elect twelve maidens, two from 
each of the six divisions of the city.; and it was deter- 
mined by lot which of the centrades, or quarters, of the 
town, should furnish them with dresses. As this in- 
volved a great amount of competition, the dresses were 
of the costliest description; and frequently the jewels 
of the treasury of St. Mark were borrowed to enhance 
their splendor. The celebration commenced on St. 
Mark's Day, Jan. 31 ; tlie next day the procession passed 
through the streets of the city ; and on the 2d of Feb- 
ruary they repaired to the Church of Santa Maria 
Formosa. 

The festival attracted such a throng of visitors from 
all parts of Italy, that special police regulations were 
passed to preserve order, and the Council of Ten were 
twice summoned. 



106. "THE LUSIAD." 

Vasco de Gama is the chief hero of "The Lusiad;" 
but the poem presents a grouping of all the great people 
and events in the history of Portugal, — ancient Lusi- 
tania. 

"The Lusiad" is one of the noblest monuments ever 
raised to the national glory of any people. 

Camoens, the author, resolved to do for Portugal 
what Homer had done for Greece. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 129 

The poem was written in the sixteenth century, 
which has been called the heroic age of Portugal, and 
was the result of the general impetus, literary as well 
as commercial, which pervaded Europe after the many 
maritime discoveries. 

The rounding of the Cape of Good Hope by Vasco 
de Gama is the main feature of the poem ; but one of 
the most interesting episodes is the crowning, after 
death, of Inez de Castro as Queen of Portugal. 

Greek mythology forms the machinery, as it were, 
of this epic ; and it is named " The Lusiad " after the 
mythological Lusius, who is said to have visited Portu- 
gal, and founded Lisbon. 

Luiz de Camoens, the author of " The Lusiad," was 
born in or near Lisbon some time between 15 17 and 
1524, and died there in 1579. His career commenced 
brilliantly, but was blighted by his fruitless love for 
Catharina de Atayde, a lady of the court ; for which love 
he was banished by royal edict to Santarem. The lady 
died of a broken heart, and Camoens never married. 

It was during his banishment that he wrote "The 
Lusiad." He was recalled in 1561, but on the way back 
lost all his property except the poem. After many 
wanderings and other misfortunes, he reached Lisbon 
in 1569, and dedicated "The Lusiad" to King Sebas- 
tian, who bestowed upon him a small pension. 

This pension was taken away after the king's death ; 
and Camoens was reduced to such poverty, that a faith- 
ful Indian servant begged in the streets of Lisbon for 
the support of the great epic poet of Portugal. He 
died in the hospital at Lisbon in 1579; and sixteen 
years afterwards, when it was proposed to erect a splen- 
did monument to his memory, there was some difficulty 
in finding even his burial-place. 



1 2,0 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

"The Lusiad" has been translated into the Spanish, 
French, Italian, Polish, German, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, 
Dutch, Swedish, Russian, Danish languages, and six 
times into English. 



107. THE KREMLIN. 

The Kremlin (from the Russian word krema, for- 
tress) is situated near the centre of the city of Moscow. 
It is triangular in form, and about two miles in perim- 
eter. 

The Kremlin contains palaces, cathedrals, monu- 
ments, etc. ; and it is enclosed by a high wall, having 
eighteen strong towers and five gates. 

The principal gate of the Kremlin is called the "Re- 
deemer's Gate : " it has a picture of the Saviour over 
it, and even the emperor must take off his hat when he 
passes through the gate. 

Among the buildings of the Kremlin are the great 
Imperial Palace ; the Cathedral of the Assumption 
(founded in 1326), in which the Russian emperors have 
been crowned for three hundred years ; the Cathedral 
of the Archangel Michael (in which the Russian emper- 
ors were buried, down to the time of Peter the Great) ; 
and the Cathedral of the Annunciation, in which many 
of them were baptized and married ; the floor of this 
cathedral is paved with jasper, agate, and cornelian. 

The Ivan Veliki, or Great Tower, contains thirty-four 
bells ; and near it (unmounted) is the Tzar Kolokol, or 
Great Bell, the largest in the world. 

The principal streets in Moscow lead from the Krem- 
lin like the spokes of a wheel ; and around them run 
handsome boulevards forming circles, one a mile, the 
other a mile and a half, from the Kremlin. 



iO 



55 O 

S o 

8 O 




CURIOUS QUESTIONS. I^i 

Inside the inner boulevard is the Kitan Gorod, or 
Chinese Quarter, containing 121 acres. 

The city of Moscow is said to have been founded 
about A.D. 1 150 : from the fourteenth to the eighteenth 
century it was the capital, and it is still the richest city, 
of Russia. 



108. PASCAL. 



It was Pascal who said, "Whoever would fully 
measure the vanity of human life must consider the 
causes and the effects of the passion of love. If the 
nose of Cleopatra had been shorter, the whole face of 
the earth would have been different." 

Blaise Pascal was one of the most distinguished phi- 
losophers and scholars of the seventeenth century. He 
was born in Auvergne, France, in 1623 ; died in Paris, 
1662. He was a noted "Port-Royalist." 

These were a body of learned men, theologians, con- 
nected with the convent of Post-Royal des Champs, 
near Versailles, who played an important part in the 
Jansenist controversy. 

This long controversy in the Roman-Catholic Church 
was chiefly respecting the doctrine of " free grace." 
Jansen of Louvain (about 1630) propagated views on 
the subject contrary to those held by the Jesuits : hence 
the controversy is known by his name, which caused 
much excitement in France and other Continental coun- 
tries. The Post-Royalists were suppressed in 1709, in 
the reign of Louis XIV., this measure being instigated 
by Madame de Maintenon. 

Pascal's chief works, " Pensees " and " Lettres Provin- 
ciales," are among the finest specimens of French lit- 
erature. 



132 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

109. CLEOPATRA. 

Cleopatra was the last queen of Egypt. Her father. 
King Ptolemy Auletes, died when she was seventeen 
years old, leaving the throne to his son Ptolemy Diony- 
sus (then thirteen years old), provided he would marry 
his half-sister Cleopatra. The Romans were appointed 
guardians of these children. 

Cleopatra married her brother, and they reigned 
jointly until she became dissatisfied with his attempt 
to obtain sole power. 

She resolved to seek assistance from Julius Caesar ; 
but not daring to go openly to him, as she was watched 
by her brother's friends, she caused a servant to carry 
her on h.'is back in a roll of carpeting into the room of 
Julius Caesar. 

When the carpet was unrolled, the beautiful girl 
sprang out, and, throwing herself at the feet of the 
Roman general, begged him with tears to take her 
part. He promised to do so, and attempted to effect 
a compromise. 

For a short time Cleopatra and her brother were rec- 
onciled ; but Ptolemy, renewing the contest, was soon 
defeated, and drowned in the river Nile. 

Cleopatra then married her young brother, a boy of 
eleven years, who was already affianced to his sister 
Arsinoe. 

Cleopatra soon poisoned him, and assumed the sole 
government 43 B.C. With her death (30 B.C.) ended 
the dynasty of Ptolemy in Egypt, which had lasted for 
two hundred and ninety-four years ; and Egypt became 
a Roman province. 

There were three queens of Egypt under the Ptole- 
mies, — Arsinoe, Berenice, and Cleopatra. Most of 



CUR TO us QUESTIONS. 133 

them were the sisters as well as the wives of the kings. 
There were thirteen kings of Egypt by the name of 
Ptolemy, during whose reigns Egypt attained a high 
degree of prosperity. Each of these kings had another 
name ; but they were called Ptolemy, from Ptolemy 
Lagus, the first of the name. (Ptolemy means warrior.) 
Cleopatra's history is so well known, as also all the 
circumstances of her tragic death, that we need only 
sum it up by quoting from Tennyson's " Dream of 
Fair Women." 



" I turning saw, throned on a flowery rise. 

One sitting on a crimsoned scarf unrolled ; 
A queen, with swarthy cheeks and bold black eyes, 
Brow-bound with burning gold. 

She, flashing forth a haughty smile, began : 
* I governed men by change, and so I swayed 

All moods. 'Tis long since I have seen a man. 
Once, like the moon, I made 

The ever-shifting currents of the blood 
According to my humor ebb and flow. 

I have no men to govern in this wood : 
That makes my only woe. 

Nay — yet it chafes me that I could not bend 
One will ; nor tame nor tutor with mine eye 

That dull, cold-blooded Caesar. Prythee, friend, 
Where is Mark Antony? 

The man, my lover, with whom I rode sublime 
On Fortune's neck: we sat as God by God: 

The Nilus would have risen before his time 
And flooded at our nod. 

We drank the Libyan Sun to sleep, and lit 
Lamps which outburned Canopus. O my life 

In Egypt! O the dalliance and the wit, 
The flattery and the strife, 



134 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

And the wild kiss, when fresh from war's alarms, 

My Hercules, my Roman Antony, 
My mailed Bacchus leapt into my arms, 

Contented there to die! 

And there he died : and when I heard my name 
Sighed forth with life I would not brook my fear 

Of the other; with a worm I balked his fame. 
What else was left ? 



I died a Queen. The Roman soldier found 
Me lying dead, my crown about my brows, 

A name forever ! — lying robed and crowned, 
Worthy a Roman spouse.' " 



110. THE EDICT OF NANTES. 

In the year 1598 King Henry IV. of France issued, 
at Nantes, an edict which secured to the Huguenots 
freedom of conscience, and equal rights and privileges 
with the Roman Catholics. 

In 1685 Louis XIV. revoked the Edict of Nantes. 

The Huguenots' churches were destroyed; and orders 
were given to take Protestant children from their 
parents, that they might be instructed in the Roman- 
Catholic faith. 

There was no longer any safety for the Huguenots 
in France : nothing was left but to flee from their native 
land. Every precaution was taken by the government 
to prevent their emigration ; but, notwithstanding this, 
almost half a million Huguenots succeeded in reaching 
Protestant countries, carrying with them, not only their 
wealth, but also their skill in manufacture. The fugi- 
tives were welcomed in England, Holland, and Ger- 
many, which countries were much benefited by their 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 35 

industries ; while to the prosperity of France their de- 
parture was such a severe blow that she has never 
recovered from it. 



III. "THE CURTAIN IS THE PICTURE." 

About the year 455 B.C., an improved style of paint- 
ing was introduced in Athens by a celebrated painter 
named Zeuxis. The aim of this new style was illusion 
of the senses. Zeuxis soon acquired great wealth by 
his paintings, and was very ostentatious in the display 
of it. The same vanity is shown by the fact, that, after 
he had reached the summit of his fame, he no longer 
sold, but gave away, his pictures, as being above all 
price. 

He was a great master of color : and in this lay the 
secret of his success, and of that of his school ; for it 
rendered his paintings so accurate and lifelike, that they 
amounted to illusion. This is exemplified in the story 
told of him and Parrhasius. As a trial, these artists 
were appointed to paint each a picture. That of Zeuxis 
represented a bunch of grapes ; and so naturally was it 
represented, that the birds came and pecked at it. 

After this proof, Zeuxis, confident of success, called 
upon his rival to draw aside the curtain that concealed 
his picture. "The curtain is the picture," replied Parr- 
hasius ; and Zeuxis was obliged to acknowledge himself 
vanquished, for though he had deceived birds, Parr- 
hasius had deceived him. 

The paintings of Zeuxis displayed great dramatic 
power. He worked very slowly and carefully ; and he 
is said to have replied to somebody who blamed him for 
his slowness, " It is true I take a long time to paint ; 
but then, I paint works to last a long time." 



136 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

His masterpiece was a picture of Helen of Troy, in 

painting which he had as his models five of the most 
beautiful maidens of Crotona, for which city the picture 
was painted. Zeuxis died in the early part of the third 
century B.C. : it is said that he died from laughter at 
a hag he had just painted. 

Parrhasius, his contemporary, also attained great ce- 
lebrity. He was particularly celebrated for the accuracy 
of his drawing and the excellent proportions of his 
figures. 

Just as Phidias established a canon in sculpture for 
gods, and Polycletus for the human figure, so Zeuxis 
established a canon for proportions in drawing and 
painting ; whence Quintilian calls him the legislator of 
his art. 



112. "NO ROYAL ROAD TO LEARNING." 

The famous mathematician Euclid, upon being asked 
by Ptolemy Soter (who was his pupil, and afterward 
king of Egypt) if geometry could not be made easier, 
replied, " There is no royal road to learning." 

Euclid, sometimes called the father of mathematics, 
was born at Alexandria about 300 B.C. 

We know little more of his history than that he be- 
longed to the Platonic school of philosophy, and taught 
mathematics in the famous school of Alexandria during 
the reign of Ptolemy Soter. 



113. THE FIRST ACCOUNT OF CHINA. 

Marco Polo, the celebrated traveller, born at Venice 
about 1254, gave to the world the first correct account 
of China. In 1271 he started on a tour through Asia, 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 37 

finally reaching China in 1275, which was then known 
in Europe as Cathay, supposed to comprise the entire 
"Far East" of the world. 

The Emperor of China received him, and soon gave 
him important offices in the government, making him 
governor of a large city, which position he held for 
three years. 

The emperor, however, would not allow him to leave 
the empire, as it was closed to all foreigners ; and for 
sixteen years he was an honored prisoner of the em- 
peror. He finally managed to escape on board a ship 
which was carrying the emperor's daughter to Persia, 
where she was to become the king's wife. After nine 
months Polo went from Persia to the Black Sea, and 
finally returned to Venice in 1295. 

He had almost forgotten his native language ; and 
his friends would not believe his story, even when he 
showed the rich presents he had received from the 
Emperor of China. He entered the navy, and was taken 
prisoner in a war with Genoa : during five years' impris- 
onment he prepared an account of his travels, and gave 
to the world the first correct description of China. His 
book was published, and created an immense excitement 
among learned men, who did not hesitate to affirm it to 
be pure fiction. 

After his liberation he returned to Venice, was ab- 
jured by his friends, and even on his death-bed was 
urged to retract his falsehoods. 

He died in 1323, aged seventy years. 

Subsequent Venetian travellers and Roman-Catholic 
missionaries verified many of Polo's statements : then 
came a re-action of public opinion, and the wonderful 
accuracy of Polo's history became the theme of univer- 
sal praise. His work became of inestimable value as a 



138 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 



guide in geographical research : by it the Portuguese 
were led to sail round the Cape of Good Hope, and 
Columbus to make his discoveries in the western 
hemisphere. 

The book was translated into all foreign languages, 
but not into English until 1844. 

Marco Polo was long remembered in China ; and a 
bust of him is still to be seen in one of the temples of 
Canton, where great men figure as social idols. 



114. THE DRAMA "SAKUNTALA." 

"Sakuntala," or "The Fatal Ring," is a celebrated 
Hindoo drama by Kalidasa, the Hindoo Shakspeare. 
Kalidasa was the greatest dramatist, and one of the 
most celebrated poets, of India, and is known to the 
literary world chiefly through his drama "Sakuntala." 
It was first brought to the notice of the Western world 
by Sir William Jones, who translated it into English 
in 1789. It created so great a sensation throughout 
Europe, that it may be considered the cause of the 
early success attending Sanscrit studies in England 
and Germany. 

Very little is known of the personal history of Kali- 
dasa; that he lived at Onjein, and that he was "one of 
the nine gems of the court of Vikramaditya," is all 
that is related in regard to him ; but as there were sev- 
eral Vikramadityas, his date is very uncertain, and may 
be placed anywhere between the first century B.C., and 
the sixth century A.D. 

Many of the dramas of Kalidasa contain episodes 
selected from the epic poems of India, — the " Rama- 
yana " and the " Mahabharata," — and are founded on 
the principles of Brahmanism. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 139 

The " Sakuntala," or " Fatal Ring," is considered 
Kalidasa's best drama ; and it has been translated into 
English and French and German. 

According to the story, Sakuntala was the daughter 
of St. Viswamita, and Menaka a water-nymph. Aban- 
doned by her parents, she was brought up by a hermit. 
King Dushyanta, coming one day to the hermitage, per- 
suaded Sakuntala to marry him ; and in due time a son 
was born. When the boy was six years old, she took 
him to the king, who recognized his wife by a ring he 
had given to her. 

The king then publicly proclaimed Sakuntala his 
queen. Bharata, his son and heir, became the founder 
of the glorious race of the Bharatas. Schubert has 
written an opera called " Sanktala." 



115. NAPOLEON'S BEES. 

Napoleon I., wishing to have some regal emblem 
more ancient than the fieur-de-lis, is said to have 
adopted the bee under the following circumstances : — 

When the tomb of Childeric (the father of Clovis) 
was opened in 1653, there were found (besides the skele- 
tons of his horse and his page, his arms, etc.) more 
than three hundred of what the French heralds mistook 
for bees, "of the purest gold, their wings being inlaid 
with a red stone like cornelian." 

These small ornaments resembling bees were only 
what, in French, are called fleurons, supposed to have 
been attached to the harness of the war-horse. 

The " bees " were sent to Louis XIV., but it was 
Napoleon who had them sprinkled over the imperial 
robes as emblematic of the enterprise and activity of 



I40 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

the Napoleonic dynasty. The modern opinion is, that 
the French fleur-de-lis is really a bee with its wings 
outstretched, which would make the royal and the im- 
perial emblems identical, but differently interpreted. 



Ii6. THE TRIAL OF RATS. 

Chassanee won his first laurels in a trial of rats in 
the diocese of Autun, 1445. 

Trials of wild animals of obnoxious description, as 
rats, locusts, caterpillars, and such like, were conducted 
in ecclesiastical courts between the years 11 20 and 
1740. In the last-named year the trial and execution 
of a cow took place. The proceedings were compli- 
cated, and, not having the sanction of Mosaic law, were 
founded on the following thesis : — 

" As God cursed the serpent, and our Saviour the barren fig-tree, 
60 in like manner the Church hath full power and authority to ex- 
orcise and anathematize and excommunicate all animate and in- 
animate things. But as the lower animals, being created before 
man, were the first heirs of the earth ; as God blessed them, and 
gave them every green herb for meat ; as they were provided for in 
the ark, and entitled to the privileges of the Sabbath, — they must 
be treated with all due deference consistent with justice." 

The process was as follows : the inhabitants of a 
district being annoyed by certain animals, the court ap- 
pointed experts to survey and report upon the damage 
done : an advocate was then appointed to defend the 
animals, and to show cause why they should not be 
summoned. 

They were then cited three times ; and, not appearing, 
judgment was given against them by default. The 
court next issued a "Monitoire," warning the animals 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. I4I 

to leave the district within a certain time under penalty 
of adjuration. If they did not disappear on or before 
the time appointed, the exorcism was pronounced with 
all due solemnity. 

During the whole period, religious processions and 
other elaborate ceremonies, that had to be well paid for, 
were strictly enjoined. The summonses were served 
by an officer of the court, reading them in places which 
the animals frequented. 

These citations were written out with all due for- 
mality : thus, in a trial against rats, the defendants were 
described as "dirty animals in form of rats, of a gray- 
ish color, living in holes." 

This trial is famous in the annals of French law ; for 
in it Chassanee, the celebrated Juris-Consult, the Coke 
of France, won his first laurels. 

The rats not appearing on the first summons, Chas- 
sanee, their counsel, argued that the summons was of 
too local and individual a character ; that, as all the rats 
in the diocese were interested, all the rats from all 
parts of the diocese should be summoned. 

This plea being admitted, the curate of every parish 
in the diocese was instructed to summon every rat for 
a future day. 

The day arriving, but no rats, Chassande said, that 
as all his clients were summoned, including young and 
old, sick and healthy, great preparations had to be 
made, and therefore he begged for extension of time. 
This being granted, another day was appointed. 

The rats still failing to appear, Chassanee denied the 
legality of the summons under certain circumstances. 

A summons from that court, he argued, implied full 
protection to the parties summoned, both on their way 
to it, and on their return home ; but his clients, the rats, 



142 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

though most anxious to appear, in obedience to the 
court, did not dare to stir out of their holes, on account 
of the number of evilly disposed cats kept by the plain- 
tiffs. 

"Let the latter," he continued, "enter into bonds 
under heavy pecuniary penalties, that their cats shall 
not molest my clients, and the summons will be at once 
obeyed." 

The plaintiffs declining to be bound over for the 
good behavior of their cats, the time for the attendance 
of the rats in court was postponed indefinitely. 

Thus Chassanee, winning his first case, laid the 
foundation of his future fame. 

Legal proceedings against animals were not confined 
to France alone ; in Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and 
Italy, the lower animals were subject to the law; and 
cases are recorded in which they were condemned, 
and burned at the stake, with all the solemnity belong- 
ing to a judicial punishment in the case of men. 



117. THE KING OF THE FRENCH. 

Louis Philippe, "King of the French," succeeded 
Charles X. in 1830. 

On account of his republican principles, he was ex- 
empted from the decree by which the French Revolu- 
tionists banished the Bourbon family in 1792. 

At a later period he had to flee from France, and he 
spent twenty years in exile and poverty in different 
parts of Europe and America. 

When Bonaparte fell, Louis Philippe returned to Paris, 
and was welcomed by many friends. After the Revolu- 
tion of July, 1830, Louis Philippe was recalled to the 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 43 

throne, not as "King of France," but as "King of the 
French : " this change in the title was made to show 
that he reigned, not by his own right, but by the will 
of the people. 

The " Citizen King," as he was called, soon lost his 
popularity : the people missed the splendor to which 
they had been accustomed around the throne, and the 
consequence was another revolution in 1848. The king 
fled again to England, and died there at Clermont, near 
London, in 1850, aged seventy-seven. France was im- 
mediately declared a republic, and has never since had 
a king. Louis Napoleon, however, was Emperor of 
France from 1852 to 1870. 



118. "THE BATTLE OF THE BOOKS." 

Sir William Temple wrote an article on "Ancient 
and Modern Authors;" and a discussion on this subject 
followed among the literati, after which Dean Swift 
wrote a satire called "The Battle of the Books," 

In this battle the books of ancient authors fight 
against the books of modern authors, and the skirmish 
takes place in St. James Library. 

The author does not relate the result of the battle, 
but it is very evident his sympathies are with the 

ancients. 

—%— 

119. TINTORETTO'S FAMOUS PICTURES. 

"The Last Judgment," "The Worship of the Golden 
Calf," "The Presentation of the Virgin," and "The Mar- 
tyrdom of St. Agnes," are considered Tintoretto's mas- 
terpieces. 

Of the first two, Ruskin says that no pictures will 
better reward a resolute study; of "The Last Judg- 
ment" he gives a powerful description in his "Modern 



144 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 



Painters : " " Bat-like, out of the holes and caverns and 
shadows of the earth, the bones gather, and the clay- 
heaps heave, rattling and adhering into half-kneaded 
anatomies, that crawl, and startle, and struggle up 
among the putrid weeds, with the clay clinging to their 
clotted hair, and their heavy eyes sealed by the earth- 
darkness yet, like his of old who went his way unseeing 
to the Siloam Pool ; shaking off one by one the dreams 
of the prison-house, hardly hearing the clangor of the 
trumpets of the armies of God, blinded yet more, as 
they awake, by the white light of the new Heaven, until 
the great vortex of the four winds bears up their bodies 
to the judgment-seat." 

The palaces of Venice are full of Tintoretto's brilliant 
works, and there is something of his in almost every 
collection in Europe. Tintoretto's great picture of 
" Paradise," which covers the end of the library in the 
ducal palace in Venice, is the largest oil-painting in the 
ivorld. 

This famous Italian artist, Tintoretto, was born in 
Venice in 15 12. His real name was Giacomo Robusti ; 
but, his father being by trade a dyer (Italian, tintore), he 
was commonly called Tintoretto. 

Titian, who was his first master, is said to have sent 
him home in less than two weeks because he painted 
so well that master became jealous of pupil. 

Tintoretto was the only one of Titian's many pupils 
and imitators who approached an equality with his mas- 
ter, and who, in fact, became in his turn the founder of 
a new school. He was distinguished by his freedom 
of drawing, grandeur of design, and beauty of color. 

Tintoretto died in Venice in 1594 when eighty-two 
ye.a& old. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. I45 

120. MANUFACTURED STONES. 

Manufactured stones were used in building the Ship 
Canal at Port Said in the Mediterranean Sea. 

The composition consisted of two parts of sand, and 
one of hydraulic lime : this was ground into paste, and 
poured into wooden moulds. 

After the mixture solidified, the boards were removed, 
and the stone left in the sun from three to six months 
to dry. Each stone weighed twenty tons. 

The Suez Canal is eighty-five miles long, seventy-two 
feet wide at the bottom, and three hundred and twenty- 
seven feet wide at the surface, and twenty-six feet deep 
throughout, and connects Europe and Asia. 

It was opened Nov. 16, 1869, by a procession of 
English and foreign steamers, in the presence of the 
Khedive, the Emperor of France, the Emperor of Aus- 
tria, the Crown Prince of Prussia, and others. 

It cost ;^i 1,672,000, and the chief advantage gained 
is the shortening of the route from Europe to India. 



121. BURIAL OF ALARIC THE GOTH AND ATTILA 
THE HUN. 

Alaric, king of the Visigoths, and a famous con- 
queror, was born about A.D. 376. 

He was buried by his soldiers in the bed of the river 
Busento in Southern Italy : they first turned the water 
into another channel ; and, after burying their chief and 
his treasures in the middle of the river-bed, they let 
the water flow back again. The digging was done by 
prisoners ; and after the burial they were all put to 
death, so that the Romans might never find his grave. 

Attila, king of the Huns, the greatest barbarian con- 



146 CURIOUS QUESTIONS 

queror of the fifth century, was buried A.D. 453 in a 
wide plain ; his body being enclosed in three coffins, 
the first of gold, the second of silver, and the third of 
iron. 

With his body was interred much treasure; and, that 
his grave might be forever unknown, all the prisoners 
who had been sent to bury him, were, on their return, 
immediately put to death. 

Another secret burial, in later history, was that of 
Fernando de Soto, the discoverer of the Mississippi, 
whose coffin was sunk at midnight in the middle of the 
stream, to conceal his death from the natives, who had 
been told that he was immortal, and "a child of the 
sun." 



122. THE GREATEST NAME IN GERMAN LITERATURE. 

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the acknowledged 
'prince of German literature, was born at Frankfort-on- 
the-Main, Aug. 28, 1749, and died in Weimar on the 
22d of March, 1832. 

His works embrace almost every department of litera- 
ture, and many of the sciences. For half a century he 
stood at the head of the literature of Germany. 

His greatest work is "Faust;" but it can never be- 
come popular, as its wisdom does not lie on the surface. 
When he had finished it he said the work of his life 
was done. " Hermann and Dorothea " is as immortal 
as the "Vicar of Wakefield." 

Among his juvenile productions, "The Sorrows of 
Werther " rendered him famous. It was his first great 
novel ; and it became so popular, that it was soon trans- 
lated into every language, even the Chinese ; young 
women cried over it, and young men shot themselves 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. \/!i;;i 

with a copy of " Werther " in their hands. It is said 
that the "Werther fever" ran so high, that in some 
countries booksellers were forbidden by law to sell it, 
A German writer, Knebel, says of Goethe, " He rose 
like a star in the heavens : everybody worshipped him, 
and especially the women." His last words were, "Open 
the shutters, and let in more light." 



123. THE BURGH MOUSA. 

In the Isle Mousa, one of the Shetland Islands, there 
is a remarkable object of antiquity styled the Burgh 
Mousa, belonging to a class known in the north of 
Scotland as the Pictish Towers. 

The Burgh Mousa occupies a knoll close upon the 
rocky sea-beach, from which the materials for its con- 
struction have evidently been taken. The tower is 
round, inclining inwards until about half way up, then 
inclining outwards to the top. It is a hundred and fifty- 
eight feet in circumference at the foundation, and forty 
feet in height. 

One doorway facing the sea is the only aperture. 
The wall is sixteen feet thick, and the top open to 
the sky. There is a stairway within, winding up to the 
summit of the building. 

According to tradition, the Tower of Mousa was oc- 
cupied by Erland, a Norwegian jarl, about 1154, when 
it successfully endured a siege undertaken to recover 
from within a runaway lady. 

The Picts were the ancient inhabitants of the north- 
eastern provinces of Scotland. The Pictish nation con- 
sisted of two great divisions, called the Northern and 
the Southern Picts, the boundary between them being 



148 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 



the mountain range known as the Grampians. The 
Picts were converted to Christianity at different periods. 
The Southern Picts received the faith from St. Ninian 
early in the fifth century. The Northern Picts owed 
their conversion to St. Columba. The life of that abbot, 
from his leaving Ireland in 563 to his death in 597, was 
chiefly spent in converting the Northern Picts. 

It is impossible to ascertain the precise character of 
the superstitions held by the Picts before their conver- 
sion, but their religion is said to have been a species of 
Druidism. The first Christian king of the Picts died 
in 586 : the kingdom began to decline in 760, and its 
later history is involved in impenetrable obscurity ; all 
that we know for certain is the final result. 

Henry of Huntingdon refers to the utter destruction 
of the Picts, of their princes, their race, and their lan- 
guage, in a work published in the year 1864, though 
written some time previous. 

" The Pictish vessel is seen in the distant horizon ; she ap 
preaches rapidly, till you clearly distinguish the crew upon the 
deck ; but, before you are near enough to hear their voices, she 
sinks, the waters close over her, and the wreck can never be raised. 

" The total extinction of the Pictish language renders any fur- 
ther inquiry impossible." 



124. THE TUB OF DIOGENES. 

Diogenes, a famous Greek philosopher, was born in 
Asia Minor, 412 B.C. 

When he first visited Athens, he went to Antisthe- 
nes, the founder of a society of philosophers called 
"Cynics" (from a Greek word meaning "like a dog"), 
because they were a rude, snarling sect, who despised 
riches, the arts, and all the aestheticism of life. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 49 

Antisthenes tried to drive him away, and even threat- 
ened to beat him. "Strike me," said Diogenes, "but 
you will never get so hard a stick as to keep me from 
you while you speak what I think worth hearing." 

Diogenes dressed in a coarse robe, which was his 
cloak by day and his cover by night, and carried with 
him a wooden bowl and a bag in which to receive alms 
and food. 

One day he saw a boy drinking water from the hollow 
of his hand; and, thinking that he could do likewise, he 
threw his bowl away as a useless luxury. He accus- 
tomed himself to endure all kinds of hardships ; and, 
in order to be able to bear both heat and cold, he rolled 
himself in the hot sand in summer, and in winter 
embraced statues covered with snow. 

His home was a large tub discarded from the Temple 
of Cybele. 

This tub, ox pithos, was a huge earthen jar that had 
been used for holding wine or oil, for the sacrifices of 
the temple. 

It was long and large enough for him to lie in at full 
length, and to satisfy his limited demands in the way 
of housekeeping, though cracked and patched. This 
whim of Diogenes was not without parallel, as it is said, 
that, during the Peloponnesian war, the Athenians lived 
in similar vessels ; and even after the time of Diogenes 
such vessels, when discarded, were used as dwellings by 
the poor. 

One day Alexander the Great saw Diogenes sitting 
in his tub in the sunshine. 

The king, surrounded by his courtiers, approached 
him, and said, "I am Alexander the Great." The phi- 
losopher replied in a surly way, " I am Diogenes the 
Cynic." Alexander asked him if he could do him anv 



150 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

service. "Yes," said Diogenes: "don't stand between 
me and the sun." 

Surprised at this reply, Alexander said, " If I were 
not Alexander, I would be Diogenes." 

Diogenes used often to walk out in the daytime with 
a lighted lantern, peering around as if looking for some- 
thing ; and when questioned, he would answer gravely, 
" I am searching for an honest man." 

He was once taken by pirates, and offered for sale as a 
slave in the market in Crete ; and, being asked by some 
one what he could do, he replied, " I can govern men ; 
therefore sell me to some one who needs a master," 

He died at Corinth 323 B.C., aged eighty-nine years. 

It may be that the story of Diogenes has been some- 
what factitiously dressed in the later history ; but, even 
if this be so, the lessons it teaches are of great value, 
and have a thought for us, too, in this latest age of his- 
tory, when there is so much prodigality and pride in 
living, so little of the true philosophy of life, and so 
much dishonesty in public service and private business. 



125. THE HOHENSTAUFENS. 

The German princely house of Hohenstaufen kept 
possession of the imperial throne from 1138 to 1254. 

The founder of the family was Frederick von Buren, 
who lived in the eleventh century : he assumed the 
name of Hohenstaufen from a castle of that name, the 
ruins of which still stand. 

His son, Lord Hohenstaufen, steadfastly supported 
Henry IV., and in return received the Duchy of Swabia. 

This duke left two sons, — Frederick II., the one- 
eyed, and Konrad. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. I51 

Henry V. confirmed the former in his Duchy of Swa- 
bia, and in u 12 gave Konrad the Duchy of Franconia. 

After the death of Henry V. his family estates fell 
to the house of Hohenstaufen. Lothaire of Saxony 
was elected emperor; and he revoked the grants to the 
Hohenstaufens, and thus gave rise to a furious war : in 
1 135 the brothers were compelled to beg forgiveness of 
the emperor, and then had their estates restored. 

In 1 138 Conrad was elected Emperor of Germany, 
and was succeeded by Frederick I., Henry VL, Philip I., 
Frederick H., and Conrad IV. 



126. LEGEND OF THE GOLDEN CAVE. 

Scobellum was a fruitful land ; but the inhabitants 
exceeded the cannibals in cruelty, the Persians in pride, 
the Egyptians in luxury, the Cretans in lying, the Ger- 
mans in drunkenness, and all the nations of the earth 
together in a generality of vices. 

In vengeance, the gods turned all the inhabitants 
into beasts, to be restored to human form again, only 
when the fire of the Golden Cave should be quenched. 
The Golden Cave contained a cistern guarded by two 
giants and two centaurs : the waters of the cistern were 
good for quenching the fire of the cave ; and when this 
fire was quenched, the inhabitants of Scobellum should 
return to their original forms. 



127. ARUNDELIAN MARBLES. 

Arundelian, or Oxford, Marbles is a name given to a 
collection of inscribed and sculptured marbles discov- 
ered by Mr (afterwards Sir William) Petty and John 



152 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Evelyn, who were employed by the Earl of Arundel to 
collect marbles, books, statues, and other curiosities, in 
Italy, Greece, and Asia Minor. Some of these marbles 
have very, important inscriptions on them, such as the 
" Parian Chronicle," so called because it is supposed to 
have been made in the island of Paros, about 263 B.C., 
which gives Greek dates from 1582 B.C. down to that 
time, a series of 1,318 years. They reached London in 
the year 1627, and were placed in the gardens of the 
Arundel House. Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, 
the founder of the collection, was born in 1586, and died 
in Padua in 1646. He resided for many years of his 
early life in Italy, and there acquired a strong taste for 
works of art, and began his collection, which consisted 
not only of the marbles in the Oxford Museum which 
bear his name, but also of coins, busts^ statues, and 
gems. 

During the turbulent reign of Charles I. the house 
of Arundel was often deserted, and the fine art-collection 
suffered : some of the marbles were defaced, some 
stolen, some broken, and some even carried away for 
architectural purposes. After the death of the collect- 
or, what remained was divided among his family. This 
collection when entire consisted of 37 statues, 128 
busts, and 250 inscribed marbles, besides altars, sar- 
cophagi, fragments, and gems. In 1667 Henry How- 
ard, grandson of Thomas Howard, presented what are 
now called the Arundelian Marbles to the University 
of Oxford. 

These marbles excited great curiosity in England 
among literary men. Selden published a small volume 
including thirty-nine inscriptions with translations. 
His researches were continued by Prideaux (1676), 
Maittaire (1732), and Chandler (1763). 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 53 

128. THE CLERKS OF THE REVELS. 

The Clerks of the Revels were an incorporated so- 
ciety in Paris, whose duty it was to regulate the public 
festivities. As the " Fraternity of the Passion " had 
obtained a royal license to represent the Mysteries, they 
were compelled to invent a new set of plays, which 
they called the Moralities. These were taken from the 
parables or the historical parts of the Bible, 

To the Clerks of the Revels we owe the invention of 
modern comedy. 

They mingled with the Moralities a number of farces, 
the sole object of which was to excite laughter, and in 
which the gayety and vivacity of the French character 
were well displayed. Some of these plays still retain 
their places upon the French stage. 



129. WILLIAM THE FIRST, SECOND, THIRD, AND 

FOURTH OF HIS NAME AT THE SAME TIME. 

William IV. of England was the third son of George 
III., and the brother to George IV. whom he succeeded. 

The Princess Charlotte, only child of George IV., 
died in 18 17, leaving no child; so the Duke of York, 
next brother to the king, became the heir-presumptive. 
He also died before the king, 1827, leaving no heir ; and 
William, Duke of Clarence, became the heir-presump- 
tive to the crown. 

Mark the distinction between the \\Q\r-appareitt and 
the \\.€\x-presiimptive. The king's oldest son is an heir- 
apparent, because nothing but his own death can come 
between him and the crown ; but if the king has no 
child, then the nearest relative to the king becomes the 
heir-presumptive, so called because his right may be 



154 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

defeated by the birth of a child to the king. On the 
death of George IV., the Duke of Clarence ascended 
the throne as William IV., and was at the same time the 
first William of Hanover, the second of Ireland, and the 
third of Scotland. He was nearly sixty years of age 
when he came to the throne, 1830. His reign of seven 
years was a very peaceful one. The celebrated Reform 
Bill was passed, which gave to the middle classes a larger 
representation in Parliament ; the chief power having 
been up to this time in the hands of the landholding 
nobility. 

One of the most important acts of the Reform Parlia- 
ment was the abolition of slavery in the British colonies. 
The merit of this was mainly due to William Wilber- 
force, who for many years had devoted himself to the 
question of emancipation. 

For the 800,000 slaves who received their freedom, 
a compensation of ;^20,ooo,ooo was paid by the English 
Government to their masters, to indemnify them for 
their loss. 

The names of two great political parties — the Whigs 
and the Tories — disappeared in this reign. These 
names originated in the reign of Charles II., succeeding 
the terms Cavaliers and Roundheads of the Common- 
wealth. The Tory party were in favor of the divine 
right and absolute authority of the king, while the Whig 
party insisted upon the rights and privileges of the 
people. After the Reform Bill was passed, the Tories 
changed their name to Conservatives, and the Whigs 
became known as Liberals. The Conservatives wish 
but few changes in the government, while the Liberals 
are still clamoring for reform. 

William IV. died at Windsor, when seventy-two years 
old (June 20, 1837), and was succeeded by his niece, the 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. I 55 

present Queen Victoria. She also was an heir-presump- 
tive, being the daughter of his brother Edward, Duke 
of Kent, who had died in 1820 ; but she reigns in undis- 
puted right. By referring to the table of the kings of 
England, it will be seen that Victoria is an immediate 
descendant of Egbert, who, in the year 827, united the 
Saxon Octarchy, and became the first king of England. 
Her ancestors have, therefore, with but little interrup- 
tion, occupied the throne for more than a thousand 
years. Her title is Alexandria Victoria, Queen of Great 
Britain and Ireland, and Empress of India. She was 
born May 24, 18 19, proclaimed Queen of England June 
20, 1837, and married to her cousin. Prince Albert of 
Saxe-Coburg Gotha, Feb. 10, 1840. The present heir- 
apparent to the throne is her son, Albert Edward, Prince 
of Wales. 



130. THE LITERARY ORACLE. 

It has been said of Dr. Samuel Johnson, that "he 
sat in his easy-chair, and was for twenty years the lit- 
erary oracle of the world." 

He was a famous English writer, born in Lichfield, 
1709. 

In 1755 he completed his dictionary, after eight years 
of solid labor upon it. 

, It was the first large dictionary of the English lan- 
guage ; and the research upon all subjects which this 
one work required, entitled him to be looked upon as 
an oracle. 

Besides his dictionary, he published many other 
works. His " Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia," a story, 
is said to have been written in the evenings of a single 
week, to defray the expenses of his mother's funeral. 



156 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

In 1762 he emerged from the poverty which had sur- 
rounded and hampered him, as it did most of the lit- 
erary men in his time ; Lord Bute having conferred 
upon him a pension of three hundred pounds a year. 

His " Lives of the Poets " was his last literary work 
of importance. He died Dec. 13, 1784, and was buried 
in St. Paul's Cathedral. 



131. "LA PIETA." 

The principal work of Michael Angelo's youth — 
'' that work by which he suddenly passed from being an 
esteemed artist to the most famous sculptor in Italy" 
— is at present in St. Peter's, Rome, but in such a 
poor light that it is almost impossible to obtain a sight 
of it. 

Michael Angelo was only twenty-four years old when 
he completed his "La Pieta." ("La Pieta" is the name 
given by Italians to the group consisting of the dead 
Christ and the mourning Mary.) 

Condivi says, "Pie was the first master in Italy, the 
first in the world from henceforth." He is said to have 
taken as his models for the group, subjects of the Court 
of the Inquisition. 

Grimm says of this group, " Our deepest sympathy 
is awakened by the sight of Christ ; the attitude of the 
whole human form lying there, as if by death he had 
again become a child whom the mother had taken in 
her arms." 

The Cardinal of San Dionigi, a Frenchman, commis- 
sioned Michael Angelo to execute this work. 

The position of the two figures with regard to each 
other was not an unusual one at that time. Many 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. I 57 

painters before Michael Angelo had so represented 
Mary and Christ, but Michael Angelo in his "Pieta" 
has far surpassed them all. 

"La Pieta" was finished in 1499. Grimm says, — 

" Whatever previously to this work had been produced by 
sculptors in Italy passes into shadow, and assumes the appearance 
of attempts in which there is something lacking, whether in idea 
or in execution. Here both are provided for. The artist, the 
work, and the circumstances of the time, combine together; and 
the result is something that deserves to be called perfect." 



132. THE SUNDAY STONE OF THE OXFORD MUSEUM. 

This is a large stone taken from a colliery-drain, and 
is remarkable in that it constitutes a perfect calendar 
of Sundays and holidays. 

The stone is composed of carbonate of lime. When 
the miners were at work, the water running through 
the drain left a deposit colored black by coal-dust ; but 
when they were not at work, the water ran down clear, 
and left a white deposit. In time these black and white 
layers made a stone of considerable thickness, which 
constitutes quite a calendar. 

Each day of work has left a black streak, which is 
followed by a white streak left during the night. Wide 
white streaks mark the Sundays and other holidays, 
and from this circumstance the stone is called "The 
Sunday Stone." 

•-•-• 

133. THE MASSAGETiE. 

The Massagetae, an offshoot of the Scythians, were 
a nomadic people inhabiting the eastern shores of the 
Caspian Sea. 

Herodotus says that "they had a community of wives ; 



158 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

that they sacrificed and devoured their aged people ; 
that they worshipped the sun, and offered horses to 
him ; that they lived on the milk and flesh of their 
herds, and on fish ; that they fought on horseback and 
on foot, with lance and bow and double-edged axe." 

An unfortunate campaign against this uncivilized, 
well-mounted nation brought the hitherto victorious 
career of Cyrus the Great to a close. 

He had just completed his conquest of Babylon, and 
was preparing to march against Egypt, when, in an 
engagement with the Scythians, or Massagetse, he was 
defeated and slain. 

In a previous engagement with them he had been 
entirely victorious, taking prisoner their leader, a son 
of Tomyris, queen of the Massagetae. This had caused 
such vexation to the royal commander, that after Cyrus 
loosened his bonds he killed himself. When Tomyris 
heard of the death of her son, fired with revenge and 
grief she gathered all her remaining forces, and marched 
against the Persians, and, at the river Jaxartes, obtained 
a complete victory over them. Cyrus was taken pris- 
oner, and the flower of his army perished, 530 B.C. 

The Scythian queen, it is said, caused the great Cyrus 
to be put to death in the most cruel manner, and his 
head severed and cast into a leathern bag filled with 
the blood of the Persian soldiers, saying, " Now mayst 
thou take thy fill of blood, since in life thou couldst not 
get enough." 

His body was afterwards conveyed to Persia, and 
buried at Pasargadas. There a splendid tomb of white 
marble marks the sepulture of this powerful king, who 
ruled from the Mediterranean to the Indus, or over the 
whole of civilized Asia. 

One is reminded that human nature is the same in 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 59 

all ages, when we read the stories of Jael and Sisera, 
of Judith and Holofernes, in which conquerors were 
put to death by women. There are besides these, nu- 
merous similar instances in Roman history. 



134. LONGFELLOW'S SONNET, "THREE FRIENDS 
OF MINE." 

This sonnet is a beautiful tribute of friendship to the 
memory of — 

I. Cornelius Conway Felton, President of Harvard 
College, who was born at Newbury, Mass., Nov. 6, 
1807, and died at Chester, Penn., Feb. 26, 1862. Presi- 
dent Felton was a very old friend of the poet, and was 
one of the first classical scholars of his time. 

II. Louis John Rudolph Agassiz, a noted naturalist. 
He was born in Metiers, Switzerland, May 28, 1807, 
and was educated at the universities of Zurich, Heidel- 
berg, and Munich. When forty years old he came to 
the United States, and was made professor of zoology 
and geology in Harvard College. He died in Cam- 
bridge, Mass., Dec. 14, 1873. 

III. Charles Sumner, an American statesman, born 
in Boston, Mass., Jan. 6, 1811. Slavery had no more 
bitter enemy than he, and during his whole public life 
he waged a continual warfare in the cause of freedom. 
He died in Washington, D.C., March 11, 1874. 



135 THE ESCURIAL. 

The Escurial is a famous edifice of New Castile, 
Spain, thirty miles north-west of Madrid. It is at once 
a palace, a church, a monastery, a museum, and a burial- 
place. 



l60 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

This solid pile of granite has been called the eighth 
wonder of the world, and at the time of its erection it 
surpassed every building of its kind in size and magnifi- 
cence. It owes its origin, it is said, to a vow made by- 
Philip II. during the battle of St. Quentin. On that 
occasion he implored the aid of St. Lawrence (on whose 
day the battle was fought, Aug. lo, 1557), and vowed, 
that, if victory were granted him, he would dedicate a 
monastery to the saint. 

The Escurial is built in the form of a gridiron, in allu- 
sion to the instrument of St. Lawrence's martyrdom. 

The building is seven hundred and forty-four feet by 
five hundred and eighty feet, divided into long courts 
which indicate the interstices of the gridiron-bars. 

The towers at the corners of the Escurial represent 
the feet of the gridiron, which is supposed to be lying 
upside down : and from the centre of one of the sides a 
range of buildings abuts, representing the handle ; these 
form the royal residences. 

The Escurial was commenced in 1563, and finished in 
1584, and was intended to serve as a palace, a monastery, 
and a mausoleum : the latter, called the Pantheon, is 
a magnificently decorated octagonal-shaped chamber, 
thirty-six feet in diameter, and thirty-eight feet high. 
In the eight sides of it are numerous black marble 
sarcophagi, in which only kings, or the mothers of kings, 
are buried. 

The Escurial contains fourteen thousand doors, and 
eleven thousand windows, and cost six million ducats. 

Its library contains thirty thousand printed books, 
and forty-three hundred manuscripts. 

In 1872 the Escurial was struck by lightning, and 
partly burned. 

The Escurial is saved from going to ruin by grants of 
public money which are occasionally made. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. l6l 

136. THE TOWERS OF SILENCE. 

In Persia stand two towers called by the Parsee the 
"Towers of Silence." 

According to their religion, they never bury their 
dead, but have the body exposed on the top of one of 
these towers, until the sun and the rain and the fowls 
of the air have cleaned the bones of all flesh. The 
bones are then collected, and placed in the other 
tower. 

These Parsees, who are followers of Zoroaster, and 
very devout, have almost disappeared as a people, there 
being only about eight thousand of them at the present 
time. 



137. THE GUELPHS AND GHIBELLINES. 

The Guelphs and the Ghibellines were the two great 
political parties whose conflicts make up the history 
of Italy and Germany from the eleventh century to the 
fourteenth. 

Guelph is the Italian form of "Welfe," and Ghibelline 
of " Waiblingen ; " and the origin of these words is 
this : — 

At the battle of Weinsburg, in Swabia, in 1140, 
Conrad, Duke of Franconia, rallied his followers with 
the war-cry, " Hie Waiblingen ! " and Henry the Lion, 
Duke of Saxony, rallied his with " Hie Welfe ! " (the 
family names of the rival chiefs). The Ghibellines were 
the supporters of the emperor's authority in Italy; while 
the Guelphs were Anti-Imperialists, or supporters of the 
supremacy of the Pope. 

In 1334 Benedict III. proscribed, under penalty of 
the censure of the Church, the further use of these once 



1 62 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Stirring words which had been for so long the rallying- 
words of a sanguinary warfare. From the fourteenth 
century, therefore, we hear no more of the Guelphs and 
Ghibellines. 



138. CLASSIC AND ROMANTIC LITERATURE. 

The term " classic " has, ever since the second cen- 
tury, been applied to writers of the highest rank, from 
the Latin word classicus, originally applied to Roman 
citizens of the first rank as divided by Servius Tullius. 

The classes were called classicus primus, classicus 
sectmdus, tertius, etc. : after a while classicus alone im- 
plied the class, meaning t\\& first class. 

Since the great productions of writers and artists of 
antiquity have continued to be looked upon as models of 
perfection, the term " Classics " has come to designate 
the best writers of ancient Greece and Rome ; while 
" Classical " means much the same as ancient. 

The " Romantic School " was a term first assumed in 
Germany, about the beginning of the present century, 
by a number of young poets and critics who wished to 
indicate that they sought the essence of art and poetry 
in the wonderful and fantastic, — elements which char- 
acterized the romance literature of the Middle Ages. 

Some twenty or thirty years later a similar school 
arose in France, and had a long struggle with the older 
Classic School ; but, with the exceptions of Lamartine 
and Victor Hugo, they rushed into such literary and 
moral excesses, that it is now stamped rather as a 
revolutionary than as a reformatory school. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 63 

139. IL BAMBINO. 

Bambino (Italian for little boy) is a term applied to 
the swaddled figure of the infant Saviour, which, carved 
or painted, forms the subject of many altar-pieces in 
Roman-Catholic churches. 

The most celebrated of these is the Santissimo Bam- 
bino of the Church Ara Coeli at Rome. 

The " Chapel of the Presepio " (manger) is closed 
except during the Epiphany season, when the whole of 
this side-chapel is devoted to an exhibition of the Bam- 
bino. 

Mary, with Joseph at her side and the miraculous 
Bambino in her lap, is represented as seated in a grotto : 
immediately behind are an ass and an ox. The shep- 
herds and kings kneel in adoration at one side. In the 
middle ground is a crystal fountain of glass, near which 
sheep, made of real wool, are feeding, tended by figures 
of shepherds carved in wood. Still nearer are women 
bearing baskets of real fruit on their heads. All the 
figures are full sized, carved in wood, painted and 
dressed appropriately. The Bambino, swaddled in a 
white dress, is crusted over with magnificent diamonds, 
emeralds, and rubies. The Virgin also wears in her 
ears diamond pendants. 

In the background is a scenic representation of a pas- 
toral landscape, in which much skill has been expended, 
and with good results. 

The festival of the Bambino (Jan. 6) is very largely 
attended : crowds flock to it, and press about the chapel 
all day long. 

At other times the Bambino is kept in the sacristy, 
except when it drives out with its special attendants, in 
its own carriage, to visit the sick, among whom it is 



164 CUA'/OUS QUESTIONS. 

believed to work miracles. It is never left alone. The 
Church Ara Coeli is full of interesting monuments of 
ancient date. 

The interior of the church is vast, solemn, and 
highly picturesque. It is here, as Gibbon tells us, that 
on the 15th of October, 1764, as he sat musing, while 
the barefooted friars were singing vespers, the idea 
of writing the " Decline and Fall " of the city first came 
to his mind. 



i 



140. JOUSTS AND TOURNAMENTS. 

The jousts, tilts, and tournaments, in which knights 
were frequently engaged, were military exercises, gen- 
erally performed at courts of princes, or at the castles 
of great feudal lords. Jousts were single combats 
between two knights, and were of two kinds : thejoute 
a Voutrance, or mortal combat; and Xh^Jotite a plaisance, 
or the jousts of peace. Tilts were exercises on horse- 
back in which the combatants attacked each other with 
lances. 

The tilting-armor was of light fabric. When the 
tilt was over, the prize was bestowed upon the victor 
by the Queen of Beauty chosen by the ladies. Tourna- 
ments were performed between two parties of cavaliers. 

The description of a tournament in Sir Walter 
Scott's "Ivanhoe," called "The gentle passage of arms 
of Ashby de la Zouche," has probably never been ex- 
ceeded in graphic beauty by any writer : the reader 
can scarcely believe that he has not the scene before 
him. 

These exhibitions were a favorite amusement during 
the days of chivalry, and drew together large assem- 
blies of tlie rank and beauty of the times. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 165 

The great expense of organizing and attending them, 
caused them frequently to be prohibited by the princes. 

They gradually went out of use as chivalry declined, 
and the art of warfare was changed by the introduction 
of gunpowder. 



141. THE JANIZARIES. 

The Turkish military force known as the Janizaries 
( Yeni Askari, new soldier) was originally made up by Sul- 
tan Orkhan, about the year A.D. 1330, of Christian cap- 
tives, who were compelled to embrace Mohammedanism. 
They were not regularly organized until 1362, when 
Amurath I., after conquering the southern Slavic king- 
dom, claimed one-fifth of the able-bodied young cap- 
tives, to be converted to Islamism, and educated as 
soldiers. This was done with extraordinary care ; and 
they soon became a formidable means of defence, and 
the body-guard of the Sultan. 

Originally they numbered 1,000, but Amurath in- 
creased the number to 10,000; and in the seventeenth 
century there were about 100,000 of them serving in 
the line throughout the empire. 

Under Solyman the Magnificent, the Janizaries 
formed the best disciplined force in Europe, and were 
noted for the wild impetuosity of their attack ; but after 
the death of Solyman they began to decline. 

The history of the Janizaries abounds in conspiracies, 
assassinations of Sultans, and atrocities of every kind ; 
so that they finally became more dangerous to the Sul- 
tan than his foreign enemies. 

The lowest officer of this force was the cook, for 
whom the soldiers manifested the greatest reverence. 
They never appeared without a wooden spoon in their 



1 66 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

turbans, and on great occasions always assembled around 
their kettles ; their revolts were always proclaimed by 
reversing the kettles ; and to lose one of these utensils 
in battle was as much of a disgrace as it is in our day 
to lose the colors. 

The attempts of the Sultans to reform or dissolve 
the Janizaries were always unsuccessful until Mahmoud 
II. came to the throne, in 1826. He matured a plan for 
ridding himself of them, and published a decree that 
one hundred and fifty of every regiment should become 
regularly disciplined soldiers. 

This, as was expected, led to a revolt ; but, the Sultan 
being prepared for it, the Janizaries were beaten on 
every side. 

Burned alive in their barracks, cannonaded in the 
Atmeidan where they made their most desperate stand, 
and massacred singly in the streets, they were, in three 
months, entirely destroyed as a force. 

Fifteen thousand of them were executed, twenty 
thousand condemned to exile; and in July, 1826, the 
Sultan issued a proclamation declaring the Janizary 
forces forever dissolved. 

In the arsenal of the ancient palace of the Sultans 
at Constantinople are to be seen some wax effigies of 
the Janizaries. 

At the taking of Constantinople by the Turks (May 
29, 1453), the Janizaries played an important part. The 
Sultan had promised double pay to his victorious troops ; 
and, according to Gibbon's " Decline and Fall of the 
Roman Empire," he had said, in addressing the military 
chiefs of his army, " Many are the provinces of my 
empire : the intrepid soldier who first ascends the walls 
of Constantinople shall be rewarded with the govern- 
ment of the fairest and most wealthy, and my grati- 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 6/ 

tude shall accumulate his honors and fortunes above 
the measure of his own hopes." The history goes on 
to relate, " The first who deserved the Sultan's reward 
was Hassan the Janizary, of gigantic stature and 
strength. With his cimeter in one hand, and his buck- 
ler in the other, he ascended the outward fortification : 
of the thirty Janizaries who were emulous of his valor, 
eighteen perished in the bold adventure. Hassan and 
his twelve companions had reached the summit : the 
giant was precipitated from the rampart ; he rose on 
one knee, and was again oppressed by a shower of darts 
and stones. But his success had proved that the 
achievement was possible ; the walls and towers were 
instantly covered with a swarm of Turks: and the 
Greeks, now driven from the vantage-ground, were over- 
whelmed by increasing multitudes. ... It was thus, 
after a siege of fifty-three days, that Constantinople, 
which had defied the power of Chosroes, the Chagan, 
and the caliphs, was irretrievably subdued by the arms 
of Mahomet the Second." 



142. THE "ILIAD" AND "ODYSSEY." 

The " Iliad," written during the early life of Homer, 
is one of the earliest, and considered the finest, of epic 
poems. It relates the adventures of the Greek heroes 
during the last year of the Trojan war. 

The "Odyssey," written during the old age of Homer, 
relates the adventures of the hero Ulysses while re- 
turning from the Trojan war. It is, in point of charac- 
ters and story, a sequel to the "Iliad." 

These poems were the ultimate standard of appeal 
on all matters of religious doctrine and early history 



1 68 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

among the Greeks. In the time of Socrates, there were 
Athenians who could repeat both poems by heart. 
Long after the Greeks lost their independence, the 
" Iliad " and the " Odyssey " continued to maintain an 
undiminished hold upon their affections. 

In two legends of the Trojan war, "The Anger of 
Achilles" and "The Return of Ulysses," Homer found 
the subjects for the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey." In 
late years there has been much controversy as to the 
existence of Homer : many scholars regard the poems 
as the development from early recitals, and many others 
think the two had different authors. The period of 
Homer's life is unknown, and the siege of Troy took 
place a long time antecedent to it. 



143. THE REBUILDING OF THE TEMPLE OF 

JERUSALEM. 

The Emperor Hadrian issued an edict which allowed 
no Jew to approach Jerusalem except on the anniversary 
of the capture of the city by Titus, when, on payment 
of a large sum, they were admitted to the city to mourn 
over the site of their fallen greatness. This edict was 
still in force in the reign of Julian the Apostate. 

Julian the Apostate, to disprove the prophecy of 
Christ, attempted to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem. 

It is said that he summoned some of the most emi- 
nent Jews into his presence, and asked them why they 
did not offer sacrifices according to their lawgiver's 
command. Upon their answering that it was not law- 
ful to sacrifice except in the temple of Jerusalem (a 
privilege of which they had long been deprived), the 
emperor gave them leave to rebuild the temple, and 
appointed one of his own officers to superintend the 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS, 1 69 

work. The dispersed Jews assembled from all quarters, 
in eagerness to forward the undertaking by means of 
their labor and of their hoarded wealth. 

Women gave their ornaments toward defraying the 
cost, and themselves carried burdens of earth in their 
silken dresses. Even tools of silver are said to have 
been used in the work. The long-depressed people 
loudly proclaimed their expectations of a triumphant 
restoration, when the attempt was terribly defeated. 

The newly laid foundations were overthrown by an 
earthquake ; and balls of fire burst forth from the 
ground, scorching and killing many of the workmen. 

Their tools were melted by lightning ; and it is added 
by some writers, that the figure of a cross surrounded 
by a circle appeared in the sky, and that the garments 
and bodies of the workmen were marked with crosses 
which it was impossible to efface. 

The truth of some of these phenomena is attested by 
heathen as well as Christian writers ; but the question 
remains, how much of the story ought to be regarded 
as fabulous embellishment, and how far the occur- 
rences, which produced the impression of miracle, may 
have been the result of ordinary physical causes. 

It has been supposed that some portions of Julian's 
work may yet be distinguished among the ruins of the 
temple. 

At present the Mohammedan mosque qf Omar occu- 
pies the site of the original temple of Jerusalem. 



144. WHY PENNSYLVANIA IS CALLED "THE 
KEYSTONE STATE." 

There are several theories advanced as to the manner 
in which this appellation was received. The one most 



I/O 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 



generally accepted, and the most dear to all who own 
Pennsylvania as their native State, is that Pennsylvania 
decided the great issue of American Independence. 

At the meeting of the Continental Congress in Phila- 
delphia, July 4, 1776, the vote adopting the Declaration 
of Independence was taken by States. 

Of the thirteen original States, six had already voted 
in the affirmative, and six in the negative : when the 
delegation from Pennsylvania came in, John Morton 
cast the deciding vote in the affirmative. 

Thus Pennsylvania, by her vote, decided the great 
issue, and was named the Keystone State, 

Another reason advanced is, that in constructing a 
bridge between Pennsylvania Avenue and Georgetown, 
Washington, D.C., a single arch was erected of stones 
left from building the walls of the Capitol. 

On the thirteen voussoirs, or arch-stones, the names 
of the thirteen States were engraved. Pennsylvania, 
falling in the keystone of the arch, became still more 
widely known as the Keystone State. 



145. ZENOBIA. 

Zenobia Septimia was the daughter of an Arab chief 
and the wife of Odenatus, King of Palmyra. She was 
remarkable for great beauty and learning : she spoke 
the Latin, Greek, Syriac, and Egyptian languages, be- 
sides Arabic, and was the friend and protector of learned 
men. She accompanied her husband in his wars ; and 
it is said that the success of some of his greatest battles 
with the Persians was owing to her counsel, prudence, 
and bravery. 

Gallienus, the Roman emperor, acknowledged Ode- 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. I/I 

natus his partner on the Roman throne ; and on the 
death of Odenatus (A.D. 266), Zenobia took the title of 
Queen of the East, and reigned as regent for her infant 
children, who were honored with the title of Caesars. 
She assumed the title of Augusta, and appeared in im- 
perial robes. For five years she ruled with firmness and 
success, though the Romans tried to take away her power. 

When Aurelian became emperor of Rome he imme- 
diately marched to the East, determined to punish the 
pride of Zenobia. He was well aware of her valor, and 
of her successes in war. Egypt acknowledged her 
power, and all the provinces of Asia Minor were subject 
to her command. When Aurelian approached Syria, 
Zenobia appeared at the head of seven hundred thou- 
sand men. She bore the hardships, and performed the 
labors of the field, like the meanest of her soldiers, and 
walked on foot fearless of danger. 

Two battles were fought, in which the queen was vic- 
torious ; but an imprudent evolution of the Palmyrean 
cavalry ruined her cause, and defeat was inevitable. 
She fled to Palmyra, and endured a siege ; but when she 
found the city could hold out no longer, she escaped 
from it by night, but was overtaken and captured 
(A.D. 273). She was brought into the presence of 
Aurelian ; and although the soldiers were clamorous for 
her death, he decided to reserve his fair and celebrated 
captive to adorn the triumph of her conqueror. As she 
was led through the streets of Rome, she almost fainted 
beneath the weight of the jewels and gold chains with 
which she was adorned. Aurelian treated her with 
great humanity, and gave her a handsome residence near 
Tivoli, where she passed the rest of her life in comfort 
and luxury as a Roman matron of high rank. She 
compiled an abridgment of the history of the Oriental 



1/2 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

nations and of Egypt, which was greatly commended 
by the ancients. Her children married into families of 
high distinction at Rome. 



146. SANSKRIT LITERATURE. 

The Sanskrit is the language of the ancient Hindoos : 
it is not now spoken, and is understood only by the 
Brahmins, and by scholars who have made special study 
of it. 

It was the opening up of this tongue to the knowl- 
edge of European scholars at the close of the last cen- 
tury, that led to the grouping of all the languages of 
Europe under the Aryan family. 

It was found that Sanskrit, both in its words and 
grammar, bore a remarkable likeness to the Greek, 
Latin, German, Celtic, and Slavonic languages ; and 
though Sanskrit is not regarded as the parent of these 
dialects, it is looked upon as the language nearest to 
the original speech of the undivided Aryans. 

Among the oldest writings in this language are the 
Vedas, which are believed to be as old as 2000 B.C. 
They form part of the sacred books of the Brahminic 
religion. 

In addition to the Vedas, the Hindoos possess a very 
extensive literature in both prose and poetry. A large 
number of these works have been translated by modern 
scholars. 

"-O-" 

147. CHORAGIC MONUMENTS.* 

These monuments were memorials erected by private 
persons in honor of a victory obtained by them in public 
musical contests. 

' Called Choragic from Choragus, a chorus-leader. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. I^^ 

The motive of the design in these buildings was to 
obtain a support for the tripod, which had been re- 
ceived as the reward of victory, and which, in the true 
Greek spirit, was to be placed in public view as a 
consecrated gift. 

For this purpose, either a column was used, the capi- 
tal of which supported the Tripod, or a more extensive 
substructure was formed for it. 

The richest and most beautiful of these monuments 
is that of Lysicrates, erected in honor of a victory ob- 
tained in the year 334 B.C. : also may be named the 
so-called " Tower of the Winds," or the " Lantern of 
Diogenes." 

On one of the streets of Athens there were so many 
of these monuments, that it was called the " Street of 
the Tripods." 



148. THE "SEVEN WISE MEN OF GREECE." 

The so-called " Seven Wise Men of Greece " were 
Pittacus of Mitylene, Bias of Prienne, Solon of Athens, 
Chilon of Lacedsemon, Cleobulus of Lyndus, Periander 
of Corinth, and Thales of Miletus. 

The origin of the title " Seven Wise Men " was as 
follows : Some fishermen of Miletus sold a draught of 
fishes to some by-standers before the net was drawn 
in. When the draught came in, there was also in the 
net a golden tripod. The fishermen claimed, that they 
had sold only the fish : the buyers claimed that they had 
bought the whole draught. To settle the dispute, they 
referred the matter to the Oracle of Delphi. 

Being ordered to adjudge the tripod to the wisest 
man in Greece, they offered it to their fellow-citizen 
Thales ; but he modestly replied that there was a wiser 



174 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

man than he, and sent it to Bias. He also declined 
the honor, and sent the tripod to another ; and thus it 
passed through the hands of seven individuals, who were 
ever after called the "Seven Wise Men of Greece." 

The tripod was finally placed in the Temple of Apollo 
at Delphi. 

These seven men met together but twice, — once av 
Delphi, and once at Corinth. 

The chief maxim of each was as follows : — 

" Know thy opportunity." — Pittacus. 

" Most men are bad." — Bias. 

" Know thyself." — Solon. 

"'Consider the end." — Chilon. 

" Avoid excess." — Cleobulus. 

"Nothing is impossible to industry."— Periander. 

" Suretyship is the precursor of ruin.'* — Thales. 



149. THE LAST OF THE GLADIATORS. 

The first gladiatorial show which we read of in 
Roman history was about the year of the city 490 (263 
B.C.), given by Marcus and Decius Brutus (called the 
Bruti) at the funeral of their father. Afterwards these 
exhibitions were given by the magistrates at regular 
periods, and at length they became the chief means of 
obtaining the favor of the people. 

The emperors exceeded all others in the extent and 
magnificence of these cruel spectacles. Julius Caesar 
gave a show of three hundred and twenty couples. 
Titus gave a show of gladiators with wild beasts for 
one hundred days ; Trajan for one hundred and twenty- 
three days, in which twenty thousand gladiators, chiefly 
Dacian prisoners, and eleven thousand wild beasts, are 
said to have been slain for the amusement of seventy 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1/5 

thousand Romans, patricians and plebeians, the highest 
ladies and the lowest rabble, assembled in the Coliseum. 

The gladiators consisted chiefly of slaves, captives, 
and condemned malefactors ; but sometimes free-born 
citizens became gladiators for hire. Even persons of 
high birth were induced to display their skill and cour- 
age before the people in these combats. 

The gladiators were trained and sworn to fight to the 
death. If they showed cowardice, they were killed after 
torture. 

When one of the combatants was disarmed or upon 
the ground, the victor looked to the emperor if pres- 
ent, or to the people, for the signal of death. If they 
raised their thumbs, his life was spared : if they turned 
them down, the victor executed the fatal mandate. 

A gladiator who had conquered was rewarded with 
a branch of palm or with his freedom. The Emperor 
Constantine prohibited these contests of gladiators 
(A.D. 325), but they could not at once be abolished. 

In the reign of Honorius, son of Theodosius the 
Great, the retreat of the Goths from Rome, under their 
chieftain Alaric, was celebrated with great rejoicing in 
the city, and with the revival of the gladiatorial con- 
tests. In the midst of the games in the Coliseum, 
Telemachus, a Christian monk, sprang into the arena, 
and, raising the cross above his head, commanded the 
gladiators, in the name of their crucified Lord, to cease 
from their inhuman sport. 

The enraged multitude stoned him to death ; but a 
little later, overwhelmed with remorse for the act, they 
proclaimed him a martyr. 

The Emperor Honorius took advantage of this occa- 
sion to prohibit gladiatorial combats forever within the 
amphitheatre at Rome (A.D. 404). They ceased through- 
out the empire about the year A.D. 500. 



1/6 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 



150. WHAT IS THE PLOT OF THE OPERA "LA TRA- 
VIATA"? ("THE LOST ONE"). 

The scene of this opera is in Paris, and the time is 
about the year 1700. 

The first act takes place in August, the second in 
January, the third in February. 

The first act commences with a gay party in the 
house of Violetta (the heroine), a young and beautiful 
creature, thrown by circumstances and the loss of her 
parents in childhood, into a course of voluptuous living. 
She is surrounded by a circle of gay and thought- 
less beings, who, like herself, devote their lives to 
pleasure. 

Amongst the throng who crowd to her shrine, is 
Alfred Germont, a young man, who becomes seriously 
enamored of Violetta. Touched by the sincerity of 
his passion, she yields to his influence, a new and pure 
love springs up in her heart, and for the first time she 
becomes conscious of the misery of her position, and 
the hollowness of the pleasures in which she has 
basked. 

In the second act, three months after the events nar- 
rated in the first act, we discover her living in seclusion 
with her lover in a country-house near Paris. 

Alfred accidentally discovers that Violetta has been 
secretly selling her houses and property in Paris, in 
order to maintain this establishment ; and, revolting at 
the idea of being a dependant on her bounty, he leaves 
hurriedly for Pans, to redeem his honor from this dis- 
grace. During his absence, his father, who has discov- 
ered his retreat, arrives. 

He represents to Violetta that his son's connection 
with her is not only lowering him in the opinion of the 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 177 

worJd, but will be ruinous to his family, inasmuch as 
his sister was betrothed to a wealthy noble, who had, 
however, declared his intention of renouncing her, un- 
less Alfred would give up Violetta. The generous girl 
resolves to sacrifice her affection and happiness for her 
lover's sake, and returns alone to Paris, whither Alfred, 
overwhelmed with despair on discovering her flight, 
follows her. 

In the next scene we are transported to a salo7i in 
the hotel of Flora, one of Violetta's former friends, 
during a festival given by the fair mistress of the man- 
sion. There Alfred again meets Violetta, now under 
the protection of the Baron Douphol ; and being una- 
ware of the generous motive which made her desert 
him, he overwhelms her with reproaches, and flings the 
miniature she had given him at her feet, in the pres- 
ence of the company. Degraded and heart-broken, the 
unfortunate Violetta returns home to die ; and in the 
last act we find the sad romance of her life drawing to 
its close. 

Alfred learns the truth of the sacrifice she has made 
to secure his happiness. Overwhelmed with grief and 
shame, he hastens, with his father, to comfort and con- 
sole her, and to offer her his hand and name in repara- 
tion of the wrong he has done her ; but too late ! One 
gleam of happiness, the purest and brightest she has 
known, gilds the closing moments of her life. She 
dies, exclaiming, " I have returned to life ! O happi- 
ness ! " 

The original story, by Alexandre Dumas the younger, 
from which the opera is taken, is entitled " La Dame 
aux Camelias." It has been also dramatized under the 
name of " Camille." 



178 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 



151. MICHAEL ANGELO'S MASTERPIECES. 

Michael Angelo's masterpiece in painting is consid- 
ered to be the cartoon of a battle designed for the 
great hall of the Palazzo Vecchio, where Leonardo had 
been already engaged in painting. 

It is called "The Instant before the Battle;" and the 
scene represents the soldiers, who are bathing in the 
Arno without a thought of impending danger, suddenly- 
summoned to arms by the trumpet-call. 

The unexpected surprise and the varied efforts of the 
men to hurry on their clothes, to seize their arms, and 
to hasten to the fight, are brought out in such a mas- 
terly manner, that, when the picture was completed, it 
excited the admiration of all the artist's contemporaries, 
and quite cast Leonardo's work into the shade. Michael 
Angelo had just completed his twelve years' study of 
anatomy, and over this cartoon showed more enthusi- 
asm than over any succeeding work, exclaiming with 
wild energy, " I have triumphed ! " 

This cartoon was stolen or destroyed between the 
years 15 12 and 15 17. Bandinelli is accused by Vasari 
of the crime of having maliciously cut Michael Angelo's 
cartoon when the Duke Giuliano was in a dying state ; 
and, as no one had time to take note of it, the pieces 
were lost. Condivi simply says the cartoon was lost, it 
is not known how. 

This cartoon and several works of sculpture exe- 
cuted the same year, 1505, so added to Michael Ange- 
lo's fame, that he was invited to Rome by Pope Julius 
II., and shortly after received the order to paint the 
Sistine Chapel. 

The ceiling of this chapel, completed in 15 12, 
is the most complete of all the works extant of this 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. l^C) 

master, and the grandest monument of painting of any 
age. 

In sculpture Michael Angelo's masterpiece is his 
"Moses." 

Grimm says, "The 'Moses' is the crown of modern 
sculpture." . . . "Whoever has once seen this statue 
must retain the impression of it forever." 

It is one of the colossal figures designed by Michael 
Angelo for the mausoleum of Julius II., and is now to 
be seen in the Church of St. Pietro in Vincoli, 

It stood in Michael Angelo's workshop for over forty 
years ; and a crack in one knee is thus accounted for, — 
that the master, so deeply impressed himself with the 
lifelike appearance of the statue when completed, rushed 
up, and, striking it vehemently with his hammer, ex- 
claimed, " Speak to me ! " thus in one moment marring 
the crov/ning work of a lifetime. 



152. CONVERSION OF LIGHT INTO SOUND. 

The invention of the photophone is based upon a 
property recently found to exist in selenium. The ac- 
tion of light upon that substance causes certain molecu- 
lar changes that affect the ear as sound : in brief, it 
causes the conversion of light into sound. 

The most simple photophone used consists of a small 
mirror of silvered mica, suspended vertically. Upon 
the front of this mirror is thrown, by means of a lens, 
a concentrated beam of sunlight ; and by means of a 
second lens the ray is reflected upon a piece of sele- 
nium at a distance of seven hundred feet. Here the 
curious property of selenium comes into play. Its re- 
sistance varies with the intensity of the light ; and this 



rSo CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

changeable resistance produces sound, which can be 
conveyed along the beam of light by placing a speaker 
behind the mirror. 

All motions may be transmitted along the beam of 
light, and will then affect the ear as sounds, even though 
the movements themselves are inaudible. 

In still other forms of the photophone, even a silent 
motion or the burning of a candle will act as sounds. 
The shadow of any object in the light of the candle 
will produce an audible effect. 

The photophone is in only its experimental stage, but 
there is no doubt of its being used eventually to convey 
information by means of a beam of light. 



1 



153. TARA'S HALL. 

In the year A.D. 544 the ancient hall of Tara saw 
for the last time the kings and nobles of Ireland assem- 
bled within its walls. 

For many centuries the Triennial Councils of the 
nation of Ireland had been held there, and the cause of 
the desertion of the time-honored seat of legislation 
shows to what an enormous height the ecclesiastical 
power had risen, 

A criminal, who had fled to the sanctuary of the 
monastery of St. Ruan, was forcibly dragged thence to 
Tara's Hall, and put to death. The holy abbot and his 
monks cried aloud against the sacrilegious violation ; 
and, proceeding in solemn procession to the palace, they 
pronounced a curse upon its walls. " From that day," 
says the annalist, "no king ever again sat at Tara." 

A striking memorial of the Church's triumph on this 
occasion was preserved in the name of distinction given 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. l8l 

to the monastery, which was ever after, in memory of 
this malediction, called " The Monastery of the Curses 
of Ireland." 

Thomas Moore, the famous Irish poet (1779-1852), 
in one of his "Irish melodies," alludes to it thus : — 

"The harp that once through Tara's halls 

The soul of music shed, 
Now hangs as mute on Tara's walls 

As if that soul were fled. 
So sleeps the pride of former days, 

So glory's thrill is o'er, 
And hearts, that once beat high for praise, 

Now feel that pulse no more. 

No more to chiefs and ladies bright 

The harp of Tara swells : 
The chord alone, that breaks at night, 

Its tale of ruin tells. 
Thus Freedom now so seldom wakes, 

I'he only throb she gives, 
Is when some heart indignant breaks, 

To show that still she lives." 



154. "UTOPIAN SCHEMES." 

Any schemes, whether of national improvement or 
of social operation, founded on impractical or visionary 
views, are termed Utopian. 

Sir Thomas More, in writing his curious philosophi- 
cal work, " Utopia," added a new word to the English 
language, and delineated his ideas of a perfect common- 
wealth. Utopia, from the Greek, means "no place." 
On the imaginary island of Utopia in the Atlantic 
Ocean, he places a people governed on the principle 
that no one shall have a right to separate property. 
Here all are contented with the necessaries of life, all 



1 82 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

are employed in useful labor, and no man desires in 
clothing any other quality than durability. 

Since wants are few, and every individual engages in 
labor, there is no need for them to work more than six 
hours per day. Neither laziness nor avarice finds a 
place in this happy region ; for why should the people 
be indolent when they have so little toil, or greedy 
when they know there is an abundance for all .-' 

It is, however, difficult to determine whether the 
opinions expressed in "Utopia" are to be considered 
as More's real sentiments. The book is written in 
Lg.tin, and was first published at Louvain in 1516: it 
has been translated into English by Robinson, Bishop 
Burnet, and A. Cayley. 



155. THE PORTLAND, OR BARBERINI, VASE. 

This vase, now in the British Museum, was discovered 
about the middle of the sixteenth century. 

It was found enclosed in a beautiful marble sarcopha- 
gus within a sepulchral chamber. This chamber is 
supposed to be the tomb of the Emperor Alexander 
Severus and his mother, Julia Mammoa : it is under 
the Monte del Grano, two and one-half miles from 
Rome, on the road to Frascati. 

The vase was deposited in the palace of the Barberini 
family in Rome, and remained there until 1770, when 
it was purchased by Byers the antiquarian, and sold by 
him to Sir William Hamilton, who carried it to England. 

The vase was purchased from Sir William Hamilton 
by the Duchess of Portland for the sum of eighteen 
hundred guineas, and was placed in her museum at the 
Priory Gardens, Whitehall, London. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 83 

In 1 8 10 the Duke of Portland deposited it in the 
British Museum. 

On Feb. 7, 1845, the vase was wantonly dashed to 
pieces by William Lloyd, a mechanic visiting the mu- 
seum, who is supposed to have been drunk or insane 
at the time. He took for his missile one of the Baby- 
lonian bricks then on exhibition. 

He was tried for the offence, but, on account of a 
defect in the law, was fined only three pounds for 
destroying- the glass shade covering the vase, which 
belonged to the trustees of the museum. 

The pieces of the vase were gathered up, and so skil- 
fully rejoined by Mr. Doubleday, that the vase is almost 
as perfect as ever. 

A drawing of the fractured pieces hangs near the vase, 
which is now (1873) kept in the centre of what is called 
the Gold Room, a small room lighted by a glass dome. 

In order to give visitors a view of both sides of the 
vase, it is made to revolve by means of a key in the 
hands of a special guard, who has constant charge of 
the vase, and receives a salary for this alone. 

The Portland Vase is 9.75 inches in height, and 7.25 
inches in diameter, and has two handles. 

It is made of indigo-colored glass, ornamented with 
opaque white figures. 

The dark ground of the vase, below the welding of 
the handles, has been covered with white enamel, out 
of which the figures were sculptured in the style of a 
cameo. 

The Portland Vase proves that the manufacture of 
glass was carried to a high state of- perfection in early 
times. It is supposed to be the work of a Greek artist 
residing in Rome, and some antiquarians date its pro- 
duction several centuries B.C. 



1 84 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

While this beautiful work of art was in the posses- 
sion of the Barberini family, a mould of it was taken by 
Tassie, who afterwards destroyed the mould. Cipriani 
and Bartolozzi made engravings of the vase in 1786. 

The Barberini, or Portland, Vase will always be close- 
ly connected with the name of Wedgwood, as showing 
what the potter's art can effect. When this vase was 
put up at auction by Sir William Hamilton, Wedg- 
wood was very desirous of buying it as a pattern from 
which to manufacture copies. The Duchess of Port- 
land bid for it ; but Wedgwood bid against her with 
such pertinacity, that it attracted the duke's attention, 
who, when he knew the cause of Wedgwood's solici- 
tude, offered him the loan of the vase for an indefinite 
period if he would terminate his biddings. He did so, 
and the vase became the property of the Duchess of 
Portland. 

Wedgwood thereupon employed the finest modellers, 
including Flaxman the great sculptor, also the most 
talented workmen in every branch, through whose aid 
he produced fifty copies of the vase, which were sold to 
subscribers at fifty guineas each. 

Sir Joshua Reynolds bore testimony to the beautiful 
execution of these copies. 

One of these stands in a case near the Gold Room in 
the British Museum. 

Although the house of Wedgwood has made many 
vases resembling the Portland Vase, yet these exact 
copies, called " original copies," are very expensive, and 
very difhcult to procure. 

Mr. Benjamin Jones of Pittsburg obtained one of 
these original Wedgwood copies through James K. 
Kerr & Bros, of Philadelphia in 1871, for a hundred 
and fifty dollars. In 1874 Mr. Kerr wrote, offering 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 85 

three hundred and fifty dollars for the vase ; and in 
1876 he offered five hundred dollars for it, to resell to 
some person who desired an original copy ; but it is 
still in Mr. Jones's possession. 

In 1877 another reproduction of the celebrated vase 
was accomplished by Mr. John Northwood. 

Extract from '■'■Art Journal" April, jSyy. 

" One of the most exquisitely beautiful achievements, not only 
of the glass-cutter's, but the glass-maker's, art ever accomplished 
in this country, is the magnificent reproduction of the Portland, or 
Barberini, Vase just completed by Mr. John Northwood. To this 
it is with special and genuine pleasure we desire to call attention. 

"Of the history of the original Portland Vase, dating back, as it 
does, to about the time of Christ, and confessedly standing out as 
the most valuable and perfectly unique of its particular art extant, 
it is not our intention to speak : we desire only to place on record 
our opinion of the modern production of this priceless gem, and to 
congratulate our. own nation on having produced an artist capable 
of so vying in every intricacy of the process with the most famous 
workers of glass in ancient Greek or Roman times. 

"The vase, which, thanks to its liberal-minded owner, Mr. Philip 
Pargeter, we have had the opportunity of carefully examining, is 
decidedly a chef-d'' oguvre of art, and is without a fault, even in its 
simple and unimportant parts. It is literally a reproduction of the 
Portland Vase, of the same size, and in the same material (glass), 
and effected in the same manner, actual hand-cutting in every part. 
Every leaf and stem, each detail of figure, and every minute por- 
tion of the original, have been literally copied m hard glass, cut by 
the graver, not by the wheel ; and the result is satisfactory in the 
highest degree. 

" The vase was itself manufactured by Mr. Pargeter, who after 
numberless trials, and much patient thought, succeeded in imitat- 
ing the full rich blue of the original. This he coated to a sufficient 
and considerable thickness with opal glass, closely and faultlessly 
welded to the body. This was a matter of great difficulty ; but Mr. 
Pargeter's indomitable energy and skill overcame all obstacles, and 
the vase was at length ready for Mr. Northwood to operate upon. 
His mode of proceeding was to cut away by hand, with chisels and 



1 86 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

gravers, the opal, and carve upon it the entire designs of the origi- 
nal. This, there is no doubt, was the process employed on the 
original by the ' verrier ' nearly two thousand years back ; and it was 
only by closely following this mode of operation patiently, slowly, 
and surely, that Mr. Northwood could hope to succeed in his self- 
imposed task. For the entire ground of the design, the opal has 
been chiselled away, and the surface of the blue-black glass pol- 
ished ; while the figures, trees, etc., composing the design, are left 
in relief in the opal, and carved with consummate skill and unap- 
proachable delicacy. In the higher, and, of course, thicker, parts, 
the opal retains its intense whiteness, while in others only a thin 
film is allowed to remain ; and thus the softest and most delicate 
graduations of color are obtained. Mr. Northwood has devoted 
three entire years with unceasing daily work to the production of 
this inestimable treasure, and he has had the advantage of special 
facilities granted by the museum authorities for actually carving 
the glass in front of the original. It is, as we have said, a perfect 
masterpiece of art, as unique and as valuable as its ancient proto- 
type. We know of nothing in modern times that will compare 
with it." 



156. THE ERAS B.C. AND A.D. 

This system of chronology was invented by Diony- 
sius Exigisus about A.D. 532. 

It was ordered to be adopted by the bishops assem- 
bled at the Council of Chelsea in 816, but it was not 
generally used until several centuries later. 

Charles III. of Germany was the first who added 
"In the year of our Lord" ("Anno Domini") to his 
reign (879). 

It is now held that Christ was born four years earlier 
than the era A.D. Christmas, or the festival of Christ's 
nativity, was first observed in the year A.D. 98. 

January ist of the year A.D. i corresponds to the 
middle of the 149th Olympiad, the 753d year of the 
building of Rome, Anno Urbis Conditae (A.U.C.), and 
the year 4714 of the Julian period since the creation. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 8/ 

157. THE AMAZONS. 

The ancients enumerate three nations of Amazons, 
or female warriors. 

First, tlie African, under their queen, Myrina, extir- 
pated by Hercules. 

Second, the Asiatic, the most famous nation of all, 
who founded an extensive empire along the shores 
of the Euxine, or Black Sea. Themiscyra was their 
capital. 

About the year 330 B.C., their queen, Thalestris, 
made a visit to Alexander of Macedon, soon after which 
time the Asiatic Amazons disappear from history. 

Third, the Scythian Amazons, a distinct branch of 
the Asiatic. They attacked the neighboring Scythians, 
but soon after married among them, and lost their iden- 
tity as a separate nation. 

As a nation of warlike women, the Amazons appear 
in legend as early as the time of Homer. They are 
frequently represented in Greek art. 

Pliny relates that a prize was offered to that one of 
four celebrated sculptors — Phidias, Polycletus, Phrad- 
mon, and Cresilas- — who should represent the most 
beautiful Amazon. 

The Amazon of Polycletus won the prize. It was of 
bronze, and stood in the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. 

The Amazon of Phidias was represented as resting, 
or leaning, upon her spear. 

Cresilas represented a wounded Amazon. 

Phradmon represented an Amazon resting after a 
battle, and laying aside her bow, shield, battle-axe, and 
helmet. 

We still possess a number of Amazon statues, of 
which some are supposed to be marble imitations of the 



1 88 CURIOUS QUESTION'S. 

renowned statues of Polycletus and of Cresilas. One 
is to be seen in the Vatican collection, and one in the 
Berlin Museum. 



158. LEGEND OF "THE ISLAND OF SEVEN CITIES/' 

This legend was one of the popular traditions current 
at the time of Columbus. 

It relates, that, at the conquest of Spain and Portu- 
gal by the Moors, the inhabitants fled in every direction 
to escape from slavery. Seven bishops, followed by 
a large number of people, took ships, and abandoned 
themselves to their fate upon the high-seas. After 
tossing about for some time, they landed on an island in 
the midst of the ocean. 

The bishops burned the ships, to prevent desertion 
on the part of their followers, and founded seven cities 
on the island. 

This mysterious island is said to have been visited 
by navigators, who, however, were never permitted to 
leave it. 

It was said to abound in gold, and to have had many 
magnificent houses and temples and high towers, which 
shone at a great distance. 



159. KIT-CAT PICTURES. 

This name is applied to portraits (half-length figure) 
painted on canvas, thirty-six by twenty-three inches, 
called kit-cat size. 

The term originated in the fact that Sir Godfrey 
Kneller, a celebrated painter of the early part of the 
eighteenth century, executed forty-two portraits of mem- 
bers of the Kit-Cat Club in this uniform size. Accord- 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS, 189^ 

ing to Defoe, the name of this club was derived from 
Kit (or Christopher) Cat, in whose house the Club held 
its meetings. This association was instituted, in Lon- 
don in 1703, and consisted of noblemen and gentlemen 
favorable to the succession of the House of Hanover, 
but whose ostensible object was the encouragement of 
literature and the fine arts. 

Among its members were Addison, Steele, Walpole, 
Marlborough, Sir Godfrey Kneller, etc. The club was 
dissolved in 1720, previous to which each of the mem- 
bers presented his portrait, as above mentioned, to 
Jacob Tonson, an eminent publisher, who was the 
founder and secretary of the club. 

These interesting portraits are now in the possession 
of Mr. W. R. Baker, Hertfordshire, England. 



160. NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI. 

This greatest of Florentine statesmen was born in 
Florence in 1469, of an ancient though not wealthy 
family. 

He was through life a zealous Republican, and suf- 
fered imprisonment and torture in the cause of lib- 
erty. 

In 1532, after the death of Machiavelli, was pub- 
lished the book which has clothed his name with oblo- 
quy. " The Prince " was not written for publication, 
but for the private study of the Medici, and to commend 
Machiavelli to them by proving how thoroughly he was 
master of the art and craft of Italian statesmanship, 
which was exhibited in the absolute and tyrannical rule 
of the Prince over the people. 

" The Prince " was published under the sanction o£ 



190 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Pope Clement VII. ; but a few years later, at the Council 

of Trent, it was accounted "an accursed book." It is a 
code of policy ; yet honesty, as the best policy, was un- 
known to a diplomatist of the fifteenth or sixteenth cen- 
tury. Hence, to be a "true disciple of Machiavelli," 
is an epithet for a knave; and Butler says in "Hudi- 
bras," — 

" Nick Machiavel had ne'er a trick, 
Though he gave his name to our old Nick." 



161. THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND WHO DIED OF A 
BROKEN HEART. 

The death of Caroline of Brunswick, wife of George 
IV. of England, has been attributed to a broken heart ; 
although there were many other things which conspired 
with this to bring her to her end. As Prince of Wales, 
the king had married her under the pressure of debt, 
having never seen her before the contract, made at the 
instigation of his father, George III. He immediately 
conceived, and steadfastly maintained, a great aversion 
for her. He had her name erased from the liturgy of 
the Established Church, and then attempted to obtain 
a divorce, which was refused him by Parliament. 

.The Prince had been regent several times during 
the seclusion of his father, George III., and finally for 
several years before he succeeded to the throne as king 
in 1 82 1. When the day of his coronation arrived, his 
wife, although she had received no summons, went in 
state to Westminster Abbey, to be crowned with him, 
but was forcibly refused admission : she returned home, 
and died within a month, partially at least of a broken 
heart, Aug. 7, 1821. 

She had previously ordered that her body should be 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. I9I 

taken to her native country, and deposited in the tomb 
of her ancestors, with the inscription, — 

"HERE LIES 

CAROLINE OF BRUNSWICK, 

THE MURDERED QUEEN OF ENGLAND." 

Although we cannot admire the conduct and life of 
Queen Caroline, her husband treated her from the be- 
ginning in a brutal manner, and left her, unprotected 
and uncounseled, to a vagrant life, which was full of 
temptations and desperate defiance. 



162. THE HEROES OF THE " NIBELUNGENLJED." 

The " Nibelungenlied," called the German Iliad, has 
for its heroes some of the most universally popular per- 
sonages of the semi-historic myths of mediaeval German 
folk-lore; viz., Siegfried, King of the Netherlands; 
Gunther, King of Burgundy; Brunhild, Queen of Ice- 
land; Kreimhild, sister of Gunther, and wife of Sieg- 
fried; Hagan of Norway; Dietrich (Theodoric the 
Great), King of the Ostrogoths ; Etzel (Attila), King of 
the Huns. 

The name of this epic poem of Germany is derived 
from Nebelungen, a mythical king of Norway; from 
Nebel (darkness), and means the children of mist or 
darkness. There are two versions of this strange story, 
— a Northern one made in heathen times, and a German 
one in Christian days. The story is divided into two 
parts, the first ending with the death of Siegfried, the 
second with the death of Kreimhild his v/idow. There 
are twenty or more existing manuscripts of this poem, 
the earliest dating A.D. 12 10. 



192 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

The author is unknown ; but to Heinrich von Ofter- 
dingen, a minnesinger of Austria, is ascribed the credit 
of putting ancient lays into the form of a continued 
story„ The loves and feuds and stormy lives of these 
national heroes are made to centre around what is called 
"The Nibelungen Hoard," a mass of gold and precious 
stones which Siegfried carried off from Norway, and 
gave as a marriage dower to his wife, and which is said 
to Have filled thirty wagons. 

After the murder of Siegfried, Hagan, his murderer, 
is said to have secretly buried this vast treasure beneath 
the Rhine, expecting later to remove and use it. 
Hagan, however, being murdered by Kriemhild in re- 
venge for the death of her husband, "The Hoard '^ 
was never recovered. This tale kept a firm hold upon 
the imaginations of the German people from the thir- 
teenth to the sixteenth century, when the Reformation 
caused this and many other of the folk-lore to be lost 
sight of and almost forgotten. It was not until the 
nineteenth century that the value of it in an historical 
point was recognized. 

Longfellow, in his "Poets and Poetry of Europe," 
says, — 

" This great romantic epic is a poem well calculated to rouse 
the enthusiasm of a people like the Germans. Nothing can exceed 
the delight with which that old poem was studied, when, within the 
memory of man, the new-born nationality of German feeling rose 
to an unexampled pitch, and led to an excess of admiration for 
every thing that belonged to German antiquity, which is, perhaps, 
without a parallel in modern times. The enthusiasm of the Ger- 
mans for this singular poem was perfectly natural. They did not 
hesitate to compare it with the Iliad, and some of the more extrav- 
agant worshippers of the Middle Ages ventured to place it even 
higher than the old Greek epic. This, however, is a claim which 
the cooler opinions of the present time reject. With all its ex- 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 193 

traordinary merits of impersonation and description, its fiery utter- 
ances of passion, its elaborate arrangement and combination, its 
genuine epic sweep of incident and language, it falls far below the 
Iliad in variety, consistency, just proportion, and completeness, 
and in melody of verse. The German language of the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries is not to be compared with the richness, grace, 
and plastic beauty of the Greeks, as it flowed from the harmonious 
Jips of Homer." 



163. THE VATICAN. 

The Vatican at Rome is a collection of buildings 
erected at various times and for different purposes, 
consisting of the papal residence, a library, and a mu- 
seum. 

The first residence of the popes was erected by St. 
Symmachus (498-514). This ancient palace, having 
fallen into decay during the twelfth century, was rebuilt 
in the thirteenth by Innocent III., and greatly enlarged 
by Nicholas III. (1277-1281) ; but the Lateran contin- 
ued to be the papal residence ; and the Vatican palace 
was used only on state occasions, and for the reception 
of any foreign sovereigns visiting Rome. 

While the popes resided in Avignon, France, 1309 
to 1377, the Lateran palace fell into decay: and, for 
the sake of greater security afforded by the vicinity of the 
fortress of St. Angelo, it was determined to make 
the pontifical residence at the Vatican ; and the first 
conclave was held there in 1378, The length of the 
Vatican palace is 1,151 English feet; its breadth, 767 
feet. It has eight grand staircases, twenty courts, and 
is said to contain eleven thousand apartments of differ- 
ent sizes. 

The small portion of the Vatican inhabited by the 
Pope is never seen except by those who are admitted to 



194 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

a special audience. Two hundred and fifty-five popes 
are reckoned from St. Peter to Pio IX. inclusive. The 
library of the Vatican was founded by the early popes, 
but greatly augmented in modern times. It is the 
oldest and most celebrated library in Europe. 

The noble hall is of splendid architectural propor- 
tions, surrounded by an immense double gallery, the 
whole adorned with frescoes, busts, statues, and col- 
umns ; but no books or manuscripts are to be seen, — 
they are all enclosed in cabinets of painted wood. The 
number of printed books does not exceed thirty or forty 
thousand ; but the collection of manuscripts is the finest 
in Europe, and is said to amount to upwards of twenty- 
five thousand. 

The Museum of Art is the finest in the world. 
Among its paintings are several of the most famous 
paintings of the old masters : it contains also ten thou- 
sand pieces of statuary, yet so ample is the space that 
it nowhere appears crowded. 



164. RELICS EXHIBITED EVERY SEVEN YEARS AT 
AIX-LA-C H APELLE. 

The treasury of the cathedral at Aix-la-Chapelle is 
rich in relics, which are divided into the Greater and 
the Lesser. " Les Grandes Reliques," which are ex- 
hibited only once in seven years, from the loth to the 
24th of July, were presented to Charlemagne by the 
Patriarch of Jerusalem, and by Haroun-al-Raschid. 
They are deposited in a rich shrine of silver gilt (the 
work of the artists of the ninth century), and are, — 

First, The robe worn by the Virgin at the Nativity : 
It is of cotton, five feet long. 

Second, The swaddling-clothes of the infant Saviour, 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 95 

Third, The cloth on which the head of John the 
Baptist was laid. 

Fourth, The scarf worn by the Saviour at the cruci- 
fixion. 

Intermingled with these are many curious antique 
gems and some Babylonian cylinders, and this is con- 
sidered by the faithful the richest collection of relics to 
be seen anywhere. 

The Lesser relics are, — the skull of Charlemagne, 
his arm or leg bone, and his hunting-horn, which are 
enclosed in a casket of gold and silver ; also a locket 
containing some of the Virgin's hair ; a piece of the 
true cross ; the leathern girdle of Christ ; the cord with 
which he was bound ; a nail of the cross ; the sponge 
which was filled with vinegar ; some of the bones of 
St. Stephen; some manna from the wilderness; and a 
piece of Aaron's rod. 

It was upon these relics that the emperors of Ger- 
many swore at their coronation until 1558, after which 
the emperors were crowned at Frankfort. 



165. "MOTHER GOOSE." 

" Mother Goose " was a real character, and not an 
imaginary personage as has been supposed. 

Her maiden name was Elizabeth Foster, and she was 
born in 1665. 

She married Isaac Goose in 1693, and a few years 
after became a member of the Old South Church, Bos- 
ton, and died in 1757, aged ninety-two years. 

The first edition of her songs, which were originally 
sung to her grandchildren, was published in Boston in 
1716 by her son-in-law, Thomas Fleet. 



ig6 . CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

The house in which a great part of her life was spent, 
was a low, one-story building, with dormer windows, 
and a red-tiled roof, looking something like an old 
English country cottage. 



i66. AN UNSUBDUED PROVINCE IN TURKEY. 

Montenegro is a little principality of Turkey, on the 
■eastern shore of the Adriatic, the independent spirit 
and heroism of whose people have won the admiration 
■of the whole world. It contains about a hundred and 
thirty thousand inhabitants. 

The territory is healthy ; and the people are famous 
for their simple manners, vigorous constitution, and 
resolute character. 

In 1476, when the Byzantine Empire and the Greek 
Church were falling on all sides before the power of the 
x:onquering Turks, Montenegro resolved that she would 
never surrender her liberty. 

A law was enacted at that time, and has ever since 
been in force, that any Montenegran who should in 
war turn his back to the Turks, should be dressed in 
woman's clothes, be whipped by the women, and then 
sent beyond the territory, never to return. 

The Turks have never been able to subdue Montene- 
gro. At the close of the war of 1876-78, it was declared 
a sovereign principality with an absolute hereditary 
monarch. 

•-•--• 

167. HYPATIA, 

Hypatia, the heroine of Charles Kingsley's novel, was 
the daughter of Theon, an astronomer and mathema- 
tician of Alexandria, and head of the Neo-Platonic 
school. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 1 97 

She was born in the latter part of the third century, 
and was equally remarkable for her beauty, her wisdom, 
and her tragic fate. 

She succeeded her father in the Chair of Philosophy 
at Alexandria, and the fame of her lectures drew around 
her students from all parts of the East. 

Her teaching was Christian in spirit, though heathen 
in form and limitation. 

The citizens of Alexandria were proud of her ; and 
such reliance was placed upon her judgment, that the 
magistrates of the city used frequently to consult her 
upon important cases. 

At this time Cyril was Bishop of Alexandria, a fierce 
hater of heathen and heretics. 

He soon cast an evil eye on Hypatia, whom he re- 
garded as a Satanic enchantress. His hatred communi- 
cated itself to the lower clergy, and especially to certain 
savage monks from the Nitrian desert, who, headed by 
one Peter, a reader, attacked Hypatia in the street as 
she was returning from her lecture-room. The maiden 
was dragged from her chariot, and hurried to the Caesa- 
rean Church, where she was murdered with tiles, after 
which she was torn to pieces, and her limbs were 
carried to a place called Cindron, and there burned to 
ashes, A.D. 415. 

With her the Alexandrian school perished, and Ath- 
ens became the seat of learning. 



168. ORATORIO. 

An oratorio is a composition of sacred music, the 
term being derived from the Latin word oratorium (an 
oratory or cell for prayer), the place where such sacred 
compositions were originally performed. 



198 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

The music consists of recitatives, arias, duets, trios, 
quartets, and choruses, accompanied by instruments. 

Handel's "Messiah" and "Israel in Egypt," Men- 
delssohn's "Elijah" and "St. Paul," and Haydn's 
" Creation," are the grandest specimens of this style of 
music. 

Bach wrote five oratorios, called Passions. Of the 
five, only three exist ; and of the three, only two are 
printed and accessible; viz., "The Passion according to 
St. John," and that " according to St. Matthew : " the 
latter is considered the author's greatest work. 

By a passion is meant an oratorio which has for its 
subject the occurrences of the last hours of the life of 
our Saviour. 

It has been the custom among Protestant churches 
in Germany to perform a piece of music on high festival 
days in keeping with the religious service of the day, 
a custom probably originating in the "Mysteries," or 
Miracle Plays (q.v.), common in mediaeval times. 

On Good Friday the History of the Passion and 
Death of the Saviour was chosen as the subject, and 
the narrative of one of the evangelists was taken. In 
these compositions, the narrative was delivered con- 
tinously in recitative by a solo voice ; and the story was 
interrupted by verses, sung by the congregation, set to 
those Chorales which form so rich and interesting a 
part of German musical literature. 

This is exactly the method followed in the earliest 
Passion known, the date of which is 1573. 

Changes were gradually introduced by the great mas- 
ters of the German school, all of whom tried their 
highest flights in Passion music. 

But the Matthew Passion of Bach far excels any of 
these works in dramatic power; and it would be perhaps 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. \C)C) 

impossible for any thing to be acted with more effect, 
if the solemn nature of the subject did not forbid such 
ft performance. 

• » • 

169. THE MOST CELEBRATED MECHANICIAN OF 
ANTIQUITY. 

Archimedes, the most celebrated mechanician of an- 
tiquity, was born in Syracuse, Sicily, 287 B.C., and 
died 212 B.C. 

He was so far in advance of his age, that his princi- 
ples did not become established until the fifteenth cen- 
tury. He invented the Archimedean screw applied to 
drainage and irrigation, and also explained the theory 
of the lever. 

He discovered what is known as the law of specific 
gravity, or the truth that any body weighs just as much 
less when held under water as the weight of the water 
which it crowds out of place. 

Hiero, King of Syracuse, having suspected a gold- 
smith of putting some other metal than gold in his 
crown, asked Archimedes to ascertain if it were so. 
Archimedes, while thinking over the matter one day, 
got into his bath, which chanced to be full to the brim ; 
and he saw at once, that as much water must run over 
the edge of the tub as was equal to the bulk or size of 
his body. He then saw, that if he put the crown into 
a vessel, and weighed the water which overflowed, and 
then tried a piece of pure gold equal in weight to the 
crown in the same way, the water overflowed by the 
pure gold ought to equal in weight that of the crown 
if it also were of pure gold. He was so overjoyed at 
this discovery, that he ran home without waiting to put 
on his clothes, crying through the streets, "Eureka! 
Eureka ! " (" I have found it ! I have found it ! ") 



200 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

He defended his native Syracuse against the Romans 
with great mechanical skill, inventing machines which 
lifted their ships out of the water, and let them drop 
with so much force that they sunk. He also burned 
their ships by concentrating on them the rays of the sun 
with mirrors. The most celebrated of his mathematical 
works are those of the sphere and cylinder, which he 
requested should be inscribed upon his tombstone. 

When Syracuse was taken, a Roman soldier entered 
his studio, and found him so busily at work, that he did 
not even know that the enemy had entered the gates. 
Marcellus, the Roman general, had given strict orders 
to his soldiers not to hurt Archimedes, and had offered 
a reward to whoever should bring him safe to him. 
The soldier ordered Archimedes to come with him ; and, 
upon his refusing to do so, he killed him, to the grief of 
Marcellus, who ordered for Archimedes an honorable 
burial, and built a monument over his grave inscribed 
as he had desired. 

It was Archimedes who declared, that if he could 
find a lever long enough, and a prop strong enough, he 
could, single-handed, move the world. 



170. FIRST AND LAST KING OF JERUSALEM. 

Godfrey de Bouillon, the hero of the first Crusade, 
and the first Christian king of Jerusalem, was elected 
in 1099. He, however, refused to be crowned, saying, 
" I cannot wear a crown of gold where my Saviour 
wore a crown of thorns ; " and he insisted upon taking 
simply the title of duke. 

This man is the hero of Tasso's "Jerusalem Deliv- 
ered," and figures as the leader of Robert and Tancred 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 20I 

and Bohemond. He died in iioo: his tomb is still 
pointed out in Jerusalem, near the Holy Sepulchre, 
which he was the first to deliver from the Saracens. 

Godfrey de Bouillon was the founder of a dynasty of 
thirteen Latin kings, nine of whom, ending with Guy 
of Lusignan, reigned in Jerusalem until it was taken 
by Saladin, Oct. 2, 1187. 

The capture of the city by Saladin led to the third 
Crusade, but it was never retaken by the Christians. 
The remaining kings of the series were only titular 
monarchs, residing elsewhere in Palestine. 



171. SACRED BOOKS. 



The books of other nations corresponding to the 
Bible are as follows : — 

(The Kings. 

v^HINESE. \ /-r-i -i-< "r> 1 

{ The Four Books. 
( The Vedas. 

East Indians, J '^^^ ^P^^ P°^^' Ramdyana and 
j Mahabharata. 
(^ The Puranas. 
Eastern Asiatics, Pitikas. 
Persians, Zend Avesta, — a liturgy, 
_ ( The four books of Kings, 

Egyptians, | The Book of the Dead, 
Ancient Greeks ( The works of the poets Homef 

and Romans, \ and Hesiod. 
Scandinavians, The Eddas. 
( The Old Testament. 
Jews, | The Talmud. 
Arabians, Turks, and all ( 

other Mohammedans, j The Koran. 



202 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

172. GENRE PICTURES. 

The French word genre signifies " kind," and is there- 
fore employed to designate a special kind or variety 
of pictures. Genre painting occupies an intermediate 
position between the historical picture and the land- 
scape. 

In the historical picture, either the character or the 
situation must be real. In genre painting, both charac 
ter and situation may be invented, but must have his- 
torical significance. It originated in the Netherlands. 
Joachim Patenier (1490-15 50) was the first to work out 
the background on which the Holy Family was painted 
into an elaborate landscape. The novelty found so 
much favor, that, in the next generation, Henri de Bles 
could place an unbiblical event in the landscape with 
the Holy Family, and yet sell the picture. But with 
Jacopo da Ponte (15 10-1592), a disciple of Titian, genre 
painting was born with all its principal characteristics ; 
viz., figures and landscape combined. It is the prevail- 
ing style of the French school of the present day; and 
its influence has been felt in this country, where, since 
the middle of the century, American painters have, for 
the most part, devoted their attention to landscape and 
genre. Inman was the first to attempt it with suc- 
cess. 

The chief productions of Hogarth, a famous English 
painter; of Wilkie, a famous Scotch painter; of Mul- 
ready, a famous Irish painter, — zxo. gejire pictures. 

"The Village Politicians," "Chelsea Pensioners," 
"Reading News of the Battle of Waterloo," are among 
Wilkie's most celebrated genre paintings. He was ap- 
pointed painter to the king in 1836, and was afterwards 
knighted. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 203 

In genre painting, the picturesque is as important an 
element as is the historical significance. 

Historical d^r^di genre paintings, therefore, stand in the 
same relation to each other as tragedy does to comedy. 



173. END OF ALCHEMY. 

Alchemy, among scientific men (at least in England), 
came to an end with the last act of a tragedy; while in 
Germany, contrary to what might have been expected, 
it disappeared amidst the hilarious laughter of a comedy, 

James Price, a distinguished amateur chemist, and 
Fellow of the Royal Society of England, imagined that 
he had at last succeeded in compounding a powder that 
would, under certain circumstances, convert mercury, 
or any other of the baser metals, into gold or silver. 
He hesitated before making public this extraordinary 
discovery; but having communicated it to a few friends, 
and the matter becoming a subject of doubtful discus- 
sion among chemists, he determined to put an end to 
cavil by conducting a series of experiments in the pres- 
ence of a select assemblage of men of rank and science. 
The experiments, seven in number, were commenced 
on the 6th of May, 1782, and ended on the 25th of the 
same month. They were witnessed by peers, baronets, 
clergymen, lawyers, and chemists ; and, in all of these 
experiments, gold and silver were apparently produced. 
Some of the gold was presented to the reigning mon- 
arch, George HI., who received it with gracious conde- 
scension. The University of Oxford bestowed upon 
Price the degree of M.D. ; and his work, containing an 
account of his experiments, ran through two editions 
in the course of a few months. 



204 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

A fierce paper conflict ensued, however, on the publi- 
cation of the experiments ; and the Royal Society felt 
bound to interfere. It accordingly called upon Price, 
as a fellow of the society, to prove to his fellow-brothers 
the truth of his transmutations by repeating his experi- 
ments in their presence. 

From this time Price seems to have lost confidence, 
and for a long time he tried in various ways to evade 
the responsibility. He declined to renew his experi- 
ments, on the ground that although it was a valuable 
discovery in science, yet it was not of practical value, 
since the cost of gold manufactured in this manner was 
greater than the value of the gold obtained ; that it 
would cost seventeen pounds sterling to make only one 
ounce of gold. 

These excuses were of no avail ; Sir Joseph Banks, 
president of the society, reminding Price that not only 
his own honor, but the honor of the first scientific body 
in the world, was implicated in the affair. Yielding at 
last to the entreaties of his friends. Price consented 
to make some more of the powder of projection, and to 
satisfy the Royal Society. For this purpose, as he 
stated, he left London in January, 1783, for his labo- 
ratory at Guildford, faithfully promising to return in a 
month, and confound, as well as convince, all his oppo- 
nents. Arriving at Guildford, he shut himself up in his 
laboratory, where his first employment was to distil 
a quantity of laurel-water, the quickest and deadliest 
poison then known. He next wrote his will, and after 
these preliminaries he commenced the preparation of 
his promised powder of projection. 

After six months he re-appeared in London, and 
invited as many members of the Royal Society as could 
make it convenient, to meet him at his laboratory 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 205 

at Guildford on the 3d of August. Three members only- 
accepted his invitation. Price received them with cor- 
diality, though he seemed to feel acutely the want of 
confidence implied by their being so few. Stepping to 
one side for a moment, he hastily swallowed the con- 
tents of a flask of laurel-water. The visitors, seeing a 
sudden change in his appearance, though then ignorant 
of the cause, called for medical assistance ; but in a 
few moments the unfortunate man was dead. 

It can never be fully ascertained whether he was 
himself deceived, or whether he wilfully deceived oth- 
ers ; but alchemy in England thus ended in tragedy. 

Contemporary with Price, there lived at the univer- 
sity of Halle, Germany, a grave and learned professor 
of theology, named Semler, — a clergyman who used to 
relieve his severe mental labors by performing a few 
chemical experiments in a small private laboratory. 
When Semler was well advanced in years, a Baron Hir- 
schen discovered, as he announced, a universal medi- 
cine or panacea, which he called the Salt of Life. 
Semler tried some of it, and, fancying that it benefited 
his health, sat down, and wrote three treatises on its 
astonishing virtues. 

While studying the virtues of the Salt of Life, Sem- 
ler did not fail to remember the ancient notion of the 
alchemists, that the Philosopher's Stone, when found, 
would also be a panacea. 

Here, he thought, is a universal medicine that can 
change all disease into perfect health : why may it not 
be liable to convert an imperfect metal into pure 
gold >. 

He determined to fit up his laboratory once more, 
and in the mean time placed an earthen jar, containing 
a solution of the Salt of Life in pure water, near a 



206 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Stone, to see the effect of moderate heat. On examin- 
ing this jar a few days afterwards, to Semler's surprise, 
he found that it contained some thin scales of a yellow- 
ish metal, which, being tested, proved to be pure gold. 
Here was a discovery ! 

He repeated the experiment several times with the 
same result, until he became perfectly convinced that 
gold could be generated. Semler thought it his duty 
to publish his discovery to the world, which he accord- 
ingly did. 

All Germany was astounded. Salt of Life came into 
universal demand, and there were few houses where a 
jar, of it might not be seen beside the stove ; but fewer 
still were the houses in which it produced gold — only 
one, and that was Semler's. 

The professor, in a lengthy article, attempted to ex- 
plain how his solution produced gold. It was owing to 
the perfect regularity of temperature which was neces- 
sary to produce the gold. But Klaproth, the most emi- 
nent chemist of the day, having analyzed the Salt of 
Life, found it to be a mixture of Glauber's salts and 
sulphate of magnesia, and utterly incapable of producing 
gold under any circumstances. 

The bitter controversy which ensued, turned princi- 
pally upon the veracity of the respective leaders ; and 
so hard did theology press upon science, that Klaproth 
condescended to analyze some of Semler's solution in 
the presence of the king and other distinguished per- 
sons in Berlin. The result was surprising. He found 
the gold, but not combined with the other ingredients, 
as it could be removed by the mere process of washing. 
Still, Semler's known probity was his stronghold. An- 
other analysis was still more surprising ; Klaproth find- 
ing a metal not gold, but a kind of brass called " Dutch 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 20/ 

Metal." This new discovery created shouts of laugh- 
ter; but the government, interfering, instituted a legal 
inquiry, and the police soon solved the mystery. Sem- 
ler had a-warmly attached old servant, who, for the sim- 
ple purpose of gratifying his beloved master, used to 
slyly slip small pieces of gold-leaf into the professor's 
chemical mixtures; and, having ■ once commenced this 
course, the servant had to keep it up. Being a pen- 
sioner, he had to report at headquarters once a year. 
He intrusted the secret to his wife, giving her money 
to buy the gold-leaf ; but she bought the Dutch Metal 
instead, expending the balance of the money for brandy, 
her favorite beverage. 

When this laughable discovery was made, Semler 
fairly confessed his error ; and no pretensions to alchemy 
were ever again listened to in the German states. 
Alchemy is to modern chemistry what astrology is to 
astronomy, or legend to history. 

Tradition points to Egypt as the birthplace of the 
science : at a later period it was taken up by the Arabs, 
and it is to them that European alchemy is directly 
traceable. 

Many important inventions are the result of this 
ancient science. 

It was in searching for the Philosopher's Stone, that 
Botticher stumbled on the invention of Dresden porce- 
lain manufacture ; Roger Bacon on the composition of 
gunpowder ; Geber on the properties of acids ; Von 
Helmont on the nature of gas, etc. 



208 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 



174. VALERIAN. 

This Roman general was proclaimed Emperor of 
Rome, A.D. 254, 

He was of noble birth and unblemished character, 
and was in every way worthy to reign. 

In an expedition against Persia in A.D. 260, he was 
defeated, and taken prisoner ; and when he asked for a 
private conference with the Persian king, Sapor, the 
king seized him, and carried him in triumph to his 
capital. 

Valerian was exposed in all the cities of Persia to 
the ridicule and insolence of the people ; and, when 
Sapor mounted his throne, he used Valerian as his 
footstool. 

After every insult had been heaped upon Valerian, 
by the monarch's order he was flayed alive, and salt 
thrown over his quivering flesh, so that he died in the 
greatest agony. 

His skin was then stuffed, and painted scarlet; and, 
that the ignominy of the Roman Empire might be last- 
ing, the effigy was nailed up in a Persian temple. Vale- 
rian died after a reign of seven years, aged seventy- 
one. 



175. t£l£maque. 



"Telemaque" was written by Francois F6nelon, Arch- 
bishop of Cambray. It is a French prose epic, in 
twenty-four books, and contains the adventures of Tele- 
machus, the only son of Ulysses and Penelope, while 
in search of his father who had been absent twenty 
years from his home. Telemachus is accompanied by 
the god of wisdom under the form of Mentor. There 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 209 

is perhaps no book in the French language which has 
been more read, and it is a class-book in almost every 
European school. 

Fenelon was suspected of favoring the doctrines of 
the Quietists ; and, upon his refusing to condemn them, 
Bossuet denounced him to the king as a heretic. He, 
however, signed a recantation, and would have been 
restored to royal favor had not this celebrated romance 
of "Telemaque" (which he had written some years be- 
fore, to train the mind of his young pupil — the Duke 
of Burgundy, a grandson of Louis XIV. — "in the princi- 
ples of virtue") been published, against his will, through 
the treachery of a servant, who sold a copy without telling 
the name of the author. It was considered a sarcasm 
on the reign of Louis XIV. ; and it caused Fenelon to 
be banished from court, and to spend the rest of his life 
in exile. He died in Cambray, aged sixty-three years, 
Jan. 7, 1715. 



176. TRIO OF MODERN GREEKS. 

First, Asmus Jacob Carstens, an eminent German 
painter (A.D. 1754 to 1798). His chief work, "The Fall 
of the Angels," contains two hundred figures. From 
this work he obtained the means to reach Rome. His 
numerous studies there from Greek subjects, distin- 
guished for purity of style, beauty of form, and fine 
distribution of light, obtained for him the title of " A 
Modern Greek." 

Second, Bertel Thorwaldsen, one of the greatest 
modern sculptors (A.D. 1770 to 1844), was born in Co- 
penhagen, Denmark. 

The date of his birth is supposed to be November, 
1770; but, when questioned on the subject, he always 



2IO CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

replied, "I entered Rome on the 8th of March, 1797," 
reckoning his existence from the commencement of his 
career as an artist. 

His subjects were chiefly classical and mythological. 

His fame became so great, that, when he revisited 
his native city, his reception was triumphant. 

He died suddenly of heart-disease, in the theatre at 
Copenhagen, in 1844. 

He bequeathed all his works remaining in his posses- 
sion to the city of Copenhagen, to be preserved in a 
museum bearing his name : for the maintenance of the 
museum he left the bulk of his property. 

This magnificent and unique collection is now the 
glory of the capital of his native country. 

Third, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, a celebrated German 
architect (1781 to 1841). 

He designed a great number of houses, castles, 
churches, and public buildings. 

He was a man of powerful and original genius ; and 
his designs are remarkable for vigor, beauty, harmony 
of details, and unity of idea. He also was called a 
"modern Greek." 

These three obtain the title of "Greeks of later 
days," because they succeeded in re-animating the 
Greek ideal, with a simplicity, depth, and grandeur 
hitherto unattained by any artists attempting classical 
subjects. 

Best specimens of the work of all three are to be 
seen in the museum at Weimar. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 211 

177. THE CITY OF THE VIOLATED TREATY. 

The city of Limerick, the capital of Limerick County, 
Province of Munster, Ireland, is often spoken of as 
"The City of the Violated Treaty." 

At one end of Thomond Bridge is the famous treaty- 
stone, shaped like an arm-chair, upon which the treaty 
of Oct. 3, 1691, was signed. 

When the Irish and French garrison of James II. 
surrendered to De Ginkel, one article of the treaty 
stipulated that Roman Catholics should take the oath 
of allegiance to the King of England, and should then 
be preserved from any disturbance on account of their 
religion. This provision was adhered to by William III., 
but was broken by Queen Anne ; and since that day 
the city of Limerick has received the sobriquet above 
mentioned. 



178. ANTIQUITY OF THE HOHENZOLLERNS. 

The dynasty of the Hohenzollerns of Prussia has a 
greater antiquity than any other family reigning in 
Europe. This dynasty received their sceptre at the 
hands of Sigismond, in the fifteenth century, and have 
transmitted it without dispute to the present time. 

While the family has never had much dominion, it 
was brought into historic prominence by being con- 
nected with the origin of the Franco-Prussian war in 
1870-71. The Prince Hohenzollern was invited to take 
the Spanish crown. As he is a near relation of the 
reigning family of Prussia, France objected, and prop- 
erly, to finding herself placed between "two Prussias." 
Although the prince declined the crown, France intem- 
perately demanded of Prussia that she would never put 



212 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

a Prussian prince upon the throne of Spain. The Prus- 
sian king felt insulted, refused to make such a promise, 
and the war ensued. 



179. THE HALF-TOLD TALE. 

" Call up him that left half told 
The story of Cambuscan bold ! " 

The lines quoted are by Milton in his "II Penseroso." 
Spenser finished the untold tale. 

"Cambuscan" is the hero of the "Squire's Tale," 
one of the "Canterbury Tales "of Chaucer, "the father 
of English poetry." Chaucer was born in London in 
1328, and died in 1400. 

The " Canterbury Tales " are eighteen in number, 
told by a company of pilgrims on their way to visit 
the shrine of " St. Thomas a Becket " at Canterbury. 

There were twenty-nine pilgrims. They assembled 
at the Tabard, an inn in Southwark, a suburb of Lon- 
don, and there agreed to tell one tale each, both going 
and returning; and the person who told the best tale 
was to be treated by the rest to a supper at the Tabard 
on their return. 

The whole number of tales should have been fifty- 
eight ; but only eighteen were told, not one being nar- 
rated on the homeward journey. 

" In these tales, English life as it then existed is 
wonderfully portrayed, — when the king tilted in tourna- 
ment ; when the knight and the lady rode over the 
down, with falcon on wrist ; when pilgrims bound for 
the tomb of St. Thomas passed on from village to vil- 
lage ; when friars, sitting in taverns over wine, sang 
songs that formed a remarkable contrast with the ser- 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 213 

vices they so piously and sweetly intoned in church and 
chapel. 

"All that stirring and gayly apparelled time — so dif- 
ferent from our own — is seen in Chaucer's work : as in 
every other, when the superficial tumults and noises 
that so stun the contemporary ear have faded away, 
leaving behind that which is elemental and eternal, the 
poet is found to be the truest historian." 

Geoffrey Chaucer died on the 25th October, 1400, aged 
seventy-four, and was buried in Westminster Abbey, 
the first of that long line of English poets who make the 
"Poets' Corner" a spot of such world-wide interest and 
renown. 

Cambuscan was a rich and powerful king who lived 
at Sarra, in Tartary. He excelled in all the qualities 
which belong to a wise and good king. 

Twenty years after Cambuscan had been in posses- 
sion of the crown, he celebrated his birthday by a splen- 
did festival. 

The story is based upon the events of this feast, dur- 
ing which a knight rode into the court, with presents 
from the king of Arabia and India, sent to Cambuscan 
on his natal day, and to the Princess Canace. The 
presents were, a horse of brass, a broad glass mirror, a 
ring of gold, and a naked sword. These all possessed 
a magic power. 

" This steede of bras, that easily and wel 
Can in the space of o day naturel 
Beren your body into every place 
To which your herte wilneth for a pace. 



This mirrour eke that I have in myn hand 
Hath such a mighte, that men may in it see 
When ther schal falle eny adversite 



214 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Unto your regne, or to yourself also, 
And openly who is your frend or fo ; 

The vertu of this ryng, if ye wol heere, 
Is this, that whoso lust it for to were 
Upon hir thomb, or in her purs to bere, 
Ther is no 'foul ' that fleeth under the heven" 

whose language she shall not understand, and also to 
answer the bird in its own speech. It also bestowed 
the knowledge of the healing properties of — 

" Every gras that groweth upon roote. 



This naked swerd that hangeth by my side 
Such vertu hath, that what man that it smyte, 
Schal never be hool, till that you lust of grace 
To strok him with the 'flat' in thilke place." 

Most critics agree with Milton, in his declaration that 
Chaucer left this tale " half told." Spenser finishes the 
story "in his own inimitable style, first stepping aside 
to speak of — 

" Dan Chaucer, well of English undefyled 
On Fame's eternal beadroll worthie to be filed." 



i8o. THE LAOCOON. 

The most famous work of the Rhodian school of art 
extant is the celebrated group of the Laocoon, executed 
by Agesander of Rhodes, with his son Athenodorus 
and his pupil Polydorus, who lived after Alexander the 
Great. It was discovered in Rome near the Setti Sale, 
on the Esquiline, in 1506, while Michael Angelo was at 
Rome, and is now one of the chief treasures of the 
Vatican collection. 

Laocoon, the son of Priam, was a priest of Apollo 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 21 5 

during the siege of Troy. He endeavored to persuade 
the Trojans that the wooden horse was not, as they 
thought, a palladium sent by the gods ; and he tried to 
dissuade them from bringing it into the city, going so 
far as to throw a javelin at it. 

On his returning to the temple to offer a sacrifice to 
Neptune, two enormous serpents are said to have come 
from under the altar, and destroyed him and his two 
sons. 

The Trojans, attributing this to the anger of the 
deity, at once drew the wooden horse inside of the 
walls : consequently Troy was taken. 

" This group represents Laocoon and his two sons in their death- 
agony. The two serpents have just wound themselves in unyield- 
ing and inexorable folds about the three figures. Laocoon, power- 
less, is pressed against the altar, at the foot of which the younger 
son is breathing out his life with a last sigh under the serpent's 
cruel bite. The father cannot help him ; for he is himself struck in 
the side by the deadly fang of the second serpent, so that he thrusts 
himself upward, convulsed by a spasm of pain. . . . Overcome 
with the agony of death, . . . his right hand, with an expression 
true to nature, grasps the back of his head ; and the left, with a 
convulsive, instinctive clutch, seeks to tear off the monster. The 
elder son, at his left, gazes up in horror at his father, while he 
vainly seeks to free his foot from the coils of the serpent, to whose 
rage he, too, is in a moment to fall a victim. The whole pathos is 
concentrated in the powerful figure of the father." 

The upraised arms of the three are restorations. 
Pliny says, — 

"The Laocoon . . . which stands in the palace of Titus, is a 
work which may be considered superior to all others, both in 
painting and statuary. The whole group, the father, the boys, and 
the awful folds of the serpents, were formed out of a single 
block." 

But the lapse of two thousand years has revealed a 



2l6 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

joint so nice as to be almost imperceptible. From this, 
it appears that the elder of the two sons was not wrought 
out of the same block of marble as the father and the 



unger son. 



yo 

Winckelmann says, — 

" Among the many thousand productions of the most celebrated 
artists which have been brought to Rome from all parts of Greece, 
this statue was esteemed as the highest effort of art : it therefore 
certainly deserves so much the greater attention and admiration 
from later posterity, which is unable to produce any thing worthy 
of being compared with it, even remotely. The wise man finds it 
an inexhaustible subject of inquiry; and the artist, of instruction: 
and both may rest satisiied, that, though the eye discovers some- 
what in this image, yet far more remains undiscovered, and that 
the understanding of the master was much loftier even than his 
work." 

As to Virgil's beautiful description, we do not know 
which is first in point of time, the statue or the poem, 
they describe each other so perfectly (see .^neid, lib. ii., 
201-222). 



181. THE EXPRESSION "WINDFALL." 

The origin of "windfall," in the sense of "good luck," 
dates from the time of William the Conqueror. It was 
then a criminal offence to cut timber in the forests. 
Only such could be gathered as the wind had blown 
down : hence a heavy windstorm was hailed by the 
peasants as so much good luck, and from this comes 
its modern application. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 21/ 

182. THE MACCABEES. 

Jewish history, between the end of the Old Testa- 
ment and the beginning of the New, falls into two di- 
visions, the Grecian and the Roman. The Maccabees 
were heroes of the first of these periods. 

Greek influence was brought into Judaea by Alex- 
ander. 

After Alexander's death his power was divided among 
his generals. The centre of one wing was Alexandria 
in Egypt : the centre of the other was Antioch in Syria. 
They who ruled at Alexandria were the Ptolemies ; they 
who ruled at Antioch were the Seleucidse ; Judaea lay 
midway between. 

Thus the Grecian period of Jewish history between 
the Testaments also falls into two divisions. The Ptol- 
emies ruled first : the Maccabees lived and fought in 
the days of the Seleucidae. 

The chief among the Greek kings of Syria, the Seleu- 
eidae, was Antiochus. 

Antioohus is known by two names, — "Epiphanes," 
which means "The Brilliant," and "Epimanes," which 
means "The Madman." These names describe his 
character. 

It was the aim of Antiochus to bring Greek customs 
into Judasa. 

In accordance with this, the keeping of the Sabbath, 
the rite of circumcision, and the distinctions between 
clean and unclean food, were strictly forbidden. 

The king emphasized his laws by the capture of the 
Holy City, and the pollution of the altars of the temple. 

Altars were everywhere built, on which Jews were 
required to sacrifice to Greek gods. Among the faith- 
ful Jews who preferred to die rather than to blaspheme 



2l8 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

God, was a family bearing the name of Asmon. The 
father of the family was Mattathias. He had five sons, 
— John, Simon, Judas, Eleazar, and Jonathan. The 
men of this family were those whom we know as the 
" Maccabees," The name " Maccab " is the Hebrew 
word for hammer. 

The Maccabees were the hammer of the Greeks, even 
as Charles Martel was afterward given the same name 
of hammer, — " Martel," the hammer of the Moors. 

Led by their father, this brave family headed a popu- 
lar revolt. Weak in numbers, but strong in indomitable 
zeal, and brave in the help of the Lord, they conquered 
the , multitudes of the enemy in several battles, and 
recaptured Jerusalem. 

The festival of the new consecration of the restored 
temple under Judas Maccabaeus was annually observed 
among the Jews, and was that feast of the dedication 
to which our Lord went at Jerusalem. 

The greatest victory of Judas was over the Syrian 
general, Nicanor. 

The hand of Nicanor was nailed to "The Beautiful 
Gate " of the temple. 

In the oratorio of "Judas Maccabaeus," written to 
celebrate the return of the Duke of Cumberland from 
the battle of Culloden in 1745, occurred the chorus 
"See the Conquering Hero Comes :" it was the hymn 
of victory over the conquest of Nicanor. 

Judas was killed in battle. 

Eleazar also died fighting, being crushed by an ele- 
phant, which he had stabbed, thinking that the Syrian 
general was on his back. 

Jonathan and Simon carried on the conflict. Simon 
coined the first national Jewish money. The sons of 
Simon kept the leadership until the time of Hyrcanus 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 219 

II., whose granddaughter, Mariamne, became the un- 
happy wife of Herod the Great : thenceforth the ruling 
family was Herodian. 

Among the Old-Testament apocryphal books are 
four books of the Maccabees. Only the first two books 
were received in the Vulgate, and declared canonical 
by the councils of Florence and Trent. They were 
translated by Jerome. 

The third and fourth books seem to have been alto- 
gether unknown to the Western Church, while the 
fifth is considered spurious. The accepted apocryphal 
books of the Old Testament were written during the 
four hundred years intervening between the Old and 
New Testaments ; but most, if not all, of them bear 
internal evidence of having been composed as late as 
the first and second centuries B.C. The word Apoc- 
rypha originally meant secret or concealed, and in the 
early Christian centuries was applied with different sig- 
nification to a variety of writings. Sometimes it was 
applied to writings whose authorship was unknown ; 
sometimes to writings containing a hidden meaning ; 
sometimes to those whose public use was unadvdsable. 

Since the time of Jerome (A.D. 340-420) the term 
has been applied to sacred writings which the Greek, 
or Septuagint version of the Bible had circulated among 
Christians, but whose inspired authority was considered 
doubtful. The Greek Church at the Council of Lao- 
dicea (A.D. 360) excluded them from the canon of 
Scripture. The Latin Church at the Council of Trent 
(1545-63) placed them on an equality with the rest of 
the Old Testament. The Church of England uses 
them in part for edification, but not for the "establish- 
ment of doctrine." All other Protestant churches in 
England and America reject their use in public wor- 



220 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

ship. The precise origin of all these writings can never, 
perhaps, be fully ascertained. 

There are fourteen Old-Testament apocryphal books. 

The New-Testament apocryphal writings are not 
without interest and instruction. They throw light 
upon the workings of the early Christian Church ; and, 
above all, both the Old and the New enable us to appre- 
ciate the great superiority of those Scriptures which 
have canonical authority. 



183. THE BUONARROTI PAPERS. 

These papers are the archives of the Buonarroti fam- 
ily, and contain very valuable historical information, 
covering a period of six hundred years, from 1250 to 
i860. In the year i860 Count Buonarroti died, be- 
queathing these valuable papers to the city of Florence 
on condition that they should never be made public : 
fortunately, however, the whole contents of the Buo- 
narroti bequest was not doomed to eternal seclusion, as 
a part of the heritage came by purchase into the posses- 
sion of the British Museum. In this small portion are 
to be seen one hundred and fifty letters of Michael 
Angelo in his own handwriting, while two hundred of 
them lie hidden in Florence. A perfect account of 
Michael Angelo and his times cannot be written until 
the Florentine papers are accessible. 

The Buonarroti family, to which Michael Angelo be- 
longed, was one of the most distinguished Florentine 
families : Beatrice, sister of the emperor Henry II., was 
the ancestress of this family. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS, 221 



184. THE PYRAMID OF CAIUS CESTIUS. 

This famous monument was erected about the year 
30 B.C., and marks the spot near which St. Paul suf- 
fered martyrdom. The pyramid is built of brick, and 
coated with marble ; is a hundred and twenty-five feet 
high, a hundred feet square at the base ; and the old 
Protestant cemetery, now closed, surrounds it. In the 
interior is a small sepulchral chamber painted in ara- 
besques. Two inscriptions on the exterior show that 
the Caius Cestius buried here was a praetor, a tribune 
of the people, and one of the " Epulones " appointed to 
provide the sacrificial feasts of the gods. Caius Cestius 
died about 30 B.C., leaving Agrippa as his executor. 

" St. Paul was led to execution beyond the city-walls on the 
road to Ostia. As he issued forth from the gate, his eyes must 
have rested for a moment on that sepulchral pyramid which stood 
beside the road, and still stands unshattered amid the wreck of so 
many centuries upon the same spot. 

" That spot was then only the burial-place of a single Roman : 
it is now the burial-place of many Britons. 

"The mausoleum of Caius Cestius rises conspicuously among 
humble graves, and marks the spot where Papal Rome suffers her 
Protestant sojourners to bury their dead. . . . Among the works 
of man, that pyramid is the only surviving witness of the martyr- 
dom of St. Paul ; and we may thus regard it with yet deeper inter- 
est as a monument unconsciously erected by a pagan to the memory 
of a martyr." 



THE CRESCENT. 



In the year 340 B.C., when Philip of Macedon was 
besieging the city of Byzantium, — now Constantinople, 
— a light suddenly appeared, in the shape of a crescent, 
enabling the Athenian garrison to see and thwart the 
intended assault of the besiec^ers. In commemoration 



222 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

of this event, the Athenians erected a statue to Diana, 
goddess of the moon ; and the crescent became the sym- 
bol of the state. The Turkish Empire adopted it imme- 
diately after the conquest of Constantinople in A.D. 

1453- 

The crescent is often used as an emblem of progress 
and success. It is seen at the present day on churches 
at Moscow, and elsewhere in Russia, surmounted with 
a cross to mark the Byzantine origin of the Russian 
Church, or, as some say, to symbolize the triumph of 
Russia over Turkey, the cross over the crescent. 



i86. THE LOLLARDS. 



The Society of Lollards was formed in Antwerp 
about the year 1300, to undertake the spiritual care of 
the sick and the dying, and the burial of the dead. By 
their kind offices they greatly won the affections of the 
people. They were very much persecuted by the clergy 
and the begging friars until Gregory XL took them 
under his protection, in 1374. Female Lollard societies 
were formed about the same time. The origin of the 
name " Lollard " has been much disputed : Webster 
derives it from a German word signifying "to sing." 
A Lollard, therefore, meant one who sang the praises 
of God. 

In England the Lollards warmly espoused the cause 
of Wickliffe; and in derision, all of Wickliffe's followers 
were called "Lollards." 

In the reign of Henry V. they had become a formid- 
able power against the Roman Catholics, so that the 
king -was forced by the monks and clergy to resort to 
severe measures for their suppression. 

Lord Cobham, being their leader, was ordered to be 
roasted alive ; and this was followed by a severe perse- 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 223 

cution of all the Lollards. To this they exposed them- 
selves by a wild separation from all authority, which 
really endangered both Church and State. This was 
the first instance in English history of persons being 
put to death on account of religious opinions. Soon 
after this they seem to have become merged into the 
great body of Refofmers, and to have lost their identity 
as a distinct society. 



187. PLOT OF THE OPERA " IL TROVATORE." 

The plot of the opera "II Trovatore " ("The Trouba- 
dour") is very romantic, but it has the merit also of 
being both connected and intelligible. 

The mother of Azucena, an old gypsy, has been 
burned as a witch by the father of the Count de Luna ; 
and Azucena, to revenge her mother's death, steals the 
younger brother of the count, and brings him up as her 
son under the name of Manrico. He becomes a trouba- 
dour, and gains the love of Leonora, who is also beloved 
by the count. 

The first act shows Manrico and the count in pursuit 
of Leonora, and it ends with a challenge and a duel. 

In the second act, the gypsies are introduced, Man- 
rico being wounded. He learns that Leonora is about 
to take the veil ; and in the convent the rivals again 
meet, Manrico's followers overcoming those of the 
count, and Manrico bearing off Leonora. 

In the third act, the lovers are about to be united : 
but Manrico learns that Azucena is in the power of 
the count, and condemned to be burned ; and in his 
attempt to release her, he is also captured. 

The last act shows Leonora offering to marry the 



224 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

count, as the condition of Manrico's freedom, but poi- 
soning herself to prevent the count's possession of her. 
The count sends Manrico to the scaffold ; and only- 
after the death-blow has been struck, does he learn 
from Azucena that he has sacrificed his own long-lost 
brother. 

The scene is laid partly in Biscay, and partly in Ara- 
gon, the time being the early part of the fifteenth 
century. 

The author of this grand opera is Guiseppe Verdi. 
He was born in the Duchy of Parma, Italy, Oct. 9, 18 14. 
His first opera was a failure; but in 1842 he brought 
out " Nabuco," which at once made him famous. He 
has since written many beautiful operas, — "Ernani," 
"Rigoletto," "II Trovatore," "La Traviata," and 
"Aida." 

At one time, when one of his operas was to be per- 
formed in Venice, he was escorted to and from the 
theatre by a triumphal procession, and offered a golden 
crown. 

At present he is a senator of the kingdom of Italy. 



ANCIENT BASILICAS. 



Courts of justice in Rome were held in basilicas, and 
the edifices thus named were subsequently used as 
Christian churches. 

The plan on which they were all constructed, no mat- 
ter how great their size, was nearly uniform ; and they 
were often characterized by great splendor. 

They had a central nave much longer than wide : on 
each side of this nave was a row of columns, which 
separated it from the side-aisles. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 225 

At the end of the edifice farthest from the entrance 
was a circular arch, and behind it a semicircular space 
which was used as a court of law and justice ; the cen- 
tral portion of the building being devoted to business, 
and often used as an exchange. 

When Christianity supplanted heathenism in Rome, 
these basilicas were used as places of worship. 

The heathen temples had not been built for the ad- 
mission of large bodies of people, and had been pol- 
luted by sacrifices to heathen gods. The basilicas were 
free from this reproach : hence, from the beginning of 
the fourth to the eighth century, they were appropriated 
to the uses of divine worship. 

The oldest basilica is St. John Lateran in Rome, 
built 289 B.C., which became the first Christian church 
in that city. In front of this church stands the obe- 
lisk of the Lateran, one hundred and fifty feet high, 
the oldest object in Rome, being referred by transla- 
tions of hieroglyphics to the year 1740 B.C. It was 
brought from the Temple of the Sun at Heliopolis to 
Alexandria, by Constantine, and removed by his son to 
Rome, where it was used to ornament the Circus Maxi- 
mus, and was removed to its present site by Fortana, 
for Sixtus V. 



189. THE BRAVEST MAN IN ENGLAND. 

Rev. Mr. Narcross of Framlingham willed the sum 
of five hundred pounds to the bravest man in England. 

The Duke of Wellington, being applied to by the 
executors of the estate, replied, " It is generally thought 
that the battle of Waterloo was one of the greatest 
battles ever fought by the English. The success of 
the battle turned upon the closing of the gates of Hou- 



226 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

gomont. These gates were closed in the most coura- 
geous manner, at the very nick of time, by Sir James 
Macdonnel ; and he is the man to whom you should pay 
the five hundred pounds." 

When Sir James was informed of their decision, he 
replied, " I cannot claim all the credit of closing the 
gates of Hougomont. My sergeant, John Graham, 
seeing with me the importance of the step, rushed for- 
ward to help me ; and by your leave I will share the 
legacy with him." His request was granted. 



190. THE FOUNDER OF MORMONISM. 

The founder of a religion is one who gives it form 
and character among men merely, claiming always a 
divine right, or inspiration. Through all the ages of 
the world's history, in every land, there have arisen 
false prophets ; and the United States of America and 
the nineteenth century form no exception. 

Joseph Smith, the founder of the religious and social 
system of the Mormons, or, as they call themselves, 
" Latter-day Saints," was born in Sharon, Windsor 
County, Vt., Dec. 23, 1805. On Sept. 21, 1823, Smith 
claimed to have a revelation from heaven, informing 
him of various important particulars, as, "that his sins 
were forgiven, and his prayers heard ; that the cove- 
nant which God made with ancient Israel was at hand, 
to be fulfilled ; that the preparatory work for the Sec- 
ond Coming of the Messiah was speedily to commence ; 
that the time was at hand for the gospel to be preached 
in its power and fulness to all nations ; and that Smith 
was chosen to be an instrument, in the hands of God, 
to bring about some of His purposes in this glorious 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 22/ 

dispensation," Besides all this, he claimed that the 
angel gave him a brief sketch 6f the history of the abo- 
riginal inhabitants of America, — "of their righteous- 
ness and of their iniquity, and of the blessing of God 
being finally withdrawn from them." He was also in- 
formed where to find certain gold plates containing 
an abridged record of the ancient prophets that had 
existed on the American continent. These records, 
he said, contained the primitive history of America, 
from its first settlement by a colony that came from 
the Tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages, to 
the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian 
era. 

A prophet called Mormon had been commissioned by 
God to write an abridgment of all their prophecies, 
'histories, etc., and to hide it in the earth until God 
should see fit to bring it forth, and "unite it with the 
Bible, for the accomplishment of His purposes in the 
last day." 

At length, after due probation, the angel of the Lord, 
on Sept. 22, 1827, was said to have placed in Smith's 
hands the wonderful records. 

This is the famous "Book of Mormon," or "Golden 
Book," believed by the followers of Smith (hence called 
Mormons) to be of equal authority with the Jewish and 
Christian Scriptures, and to be an indispensable sup- 
plement to them. In A.D. 420 the gold plates, eight 
inches long, and six inches wide, and forming a book 
six inches in thickness, bound together with three 
rings, were sealed up in a stone box, and secreted 
until found, as alleged, under divine guidance, by Mr. 
Smith. 

The inscriptions on the plates were in the reformed 
Egyptian tongue, and were translated by means of a 



228 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

pair of mystical spectacles which accompanied the vol- 
ume, called Urim and Thummim, so that Mr. Smith 
found no difficulty in deciphering the text. The " Book 
of Mormon " appeared before the public in print in 
1830. Attention was soon drawn to the newly pub- 
lished work, and a controversy arose as to its real 
authorship. Evidence was soon brought forward to 
show, that, with the exception of certain illiterate inter- 
polations, the so-called " Book of Mormon " was really 
borrowed or stolen nearly verbatim from a manuscript 
romance written by Solomon Spalding, who died in 
1816. 

Undeterred, however, by exposure, ridicule, and hos- 
tility. Smith, armed with this book as the basis of his 
teaching, began to preach in 1830, and soon found fol- 
lowers ; so that on April 6, 1830, the "Church of Jesus 
Christ of Latter-day Saints " was organized in the town 
of Manchester, N.Y. They were fiercely attacked by 
orthodox Christians, and were obliged to turn their 
steps westward. 

In 1832 Brigham Young joined the society. They 
were driven from place to place, farther and farther 
west, but rapidly gaining in numbers, until finally, in 
1844, Smith, who had been incarcerated in a jail in 
Illinois, was murdered by a mob. After this disaster 
to the new sect, Brigham Young was elected "prophet," 
and a new emigration was decided upon. Under his 
guidance, about sixteen thousand persons crossed the 
prairie desert to Salt-Lake valley, involving a, journey 
of two years, and founded Salt-Lake City. This city 
has grown steadily in importance, and is now the capi 
tal of Utah Territory. It is estimated that the new 
sect now comprises two hundred thousand members, 
including about fifty thousand living in other countries; 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 229 

for their missionaries have traversed all lands, and re- 
ceived large accessions to their numbers in almost every 
country of Europe. 

The Mormons are noted for their frugality and thrift. 
Polygamy was originally condemned by the "Book of 
Mormon," but in 1843 Smith claimed to have received 
a revelation recommending the adoption of the custom. 
Many Mormons, however, are not polygamists. 

THE MORMON CREED. 

I. God is a person with the form and flesh of man. 
II. Man is a part of the substance of God, and will himself 

become a god. 
in. Man was not created by God, but existed from all eter- 
nity, and will never cease to exist. 
IV. There is no such thing as original or birth sin. 
v. The earth is only one of many inhabited spheres. 
■ VI. God is president of men made gods, angels, good men, 
and spirits waiting to receive a tabernacle of flesh. 
VII. Man's household of wives is his kingdom, not for earth 

only, but also in his future state. 
VIII. Mormonism is the kingdom of God on earth. 



191. THE EPIC POEM OF SPAIN. 

The first monument of the Spanish, or, as it is some- 
times called, the Castilian tongue, and the oldest epic 
in any of the romance languages, is the poem of the 
"Cid." 

This poem, consisting of three thousand lines, is 
valuable as a living picture of the manners and customs 
of the eleventh century. It celebrates the achievements 
of the most romantic hero of Spanish tradition, — the 
Cid, or my Lord. 

Perhaps no hero of any country has been so honored 



230 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

by his country, and he is still so sacredly dear to his 
countrymen that to say " By the faith of Roderigo " 
is considered the strongest vow of loyalty. The author 
of the poem is unknown ; but it cannot have been 
written later than the twelfth century, and consequently 
about fifty years after the death of the hero whose 
name and achievements it celebrates. The poem 
throughout is striking and original, and breathes the 
true Castilian spirit. 

Dr. Henry Coppee, in his " Conquest of Spain by the 
Arab Moors," says of the " Poema del Cid," — 

"Based upon history, although without dramatic form, it is 
essentially dramatic in character, and presents to us the events 
in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries with the rarest local 
coloring. 

" By the aid of these documents, we discern the colossal figure 
of a warrior and a statesman, who although noble by birth, like 
thousands of others, owed his promotion and his fame to his own 
good sword, wielded mostly against the infidel, as a champion of 
the Spanish king and of Christian Spain ; sometimes as the ally 
of one Moorish chief against the encroachments of another; 
sometimes as an exile from royal envy and injustice, striking out 
'for his own hand,' and carving a realm for himself. There are, 
in this changing histor}', so many dissolving views, that baffled 
historians have held high controversy, not only as to the deeds 
ascribed to him, but as to his very existence. The final and logi- 
cal acknowledgment of the ' Cid ' is probably due to the decision 
of the learned Niebuhr." 

Southey, in his "Chronicle of the Cid" (1808), 
has collected all that is known of this extraordinary 
hero. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 23 1 

192. THE LARGEST STATUE IN THE WORLD. 

The largest statue in the world is that of " Liberty 
Enlightening- the World," to be erected on Bedloe's 
Island, in New- York Harbor. 

This statue was a gift to the people of the United 
States from the people of France, and was intended to 
foster the friendly feeling existing between the two 
countries. 

The statue, which represents a female figure stand- 
ing upright, and holding a torch high above her head 
(signifying the light cast by the broad rays of liberty), 
is made of repousse copper, one-eighth of an inch in 
thickness, which is kept in position by iron plates and 
braces. The dimensions of the statue are, — 



From bottom of plinth to top of torch . 


. 151.41 feet. 


From heel to top of head 


. in « 


Height of head 


• 13J " 


Width of eye 


28 inches. 


Length of nose 


• 45 " 


Length of forefinger .... 


• 1\\ feet 

r ,1 



The statue stands on a pedestal eighty-nine feet high. 
The head will easily accommodate forty persons ; and 
the torch, which is reached by a spiral staircase, will 
hold twelve persons. 

The total cost of the statue, including gifts, gratui- 
tous work, and losses sustained by those who gave valu- 
able assistance, is about two hundred thousand dollars. 
The cost of the statue proper is about forty thousand 
dollars. It was designed and executed by M. Bar- 
tholdi, a French architect and sculptor, and was for- 
mally received in New York, June 19, 1885. The 
heights of other famous statues of the world are as 
follows : — 



232 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Jupiter Olympus 43 feet. 

Memnon (about) ..,..•. 60 " 

Borromeo at Lake Maggiore . . . . 66 " 

Arminius in Westphalia (about) . . . 92 " 

Colossus at Rhodes . . . . • , . 105 " 

Nero 118 " 



193. GOG AND MAGOG. 

The tutelary deities of London have a vague tradi- 
tional connection with the Gog and Magog of the 
Scriptures. In the Book of Genesis, Magog is spoken 
of as the son of Japheth. Ezekiel speaks of Gog, prince 
of Magog. Gog and Magog are spoken of in the Book of 
Revelation (Rev. xxii. 8). Magog is fabulously consid- 
ered by some the father of the Scythians and Tartars. 
The Persians also claim to be descendants of Magog, 
and the Goths of Gog. 

The famous figures of Gog and Magog in Guildhall, 
London, were carved in 1708 by Richard Saunders. 
They are made of wood, and are about fourteen feet 
high, and take the places of two similar effigies de- 
stroyed in the London fire of 1665. 

According to Caxton's account, Gog and Magog are 
the legendary survivors of a race of giants who for- 
merly inhabited the country of Albion (Britain). 

According to one legend, they were found in Britain 
by Brute, a younger son of Anthenor of Troy, who 
invaded Albion, and founded the city of London, at 
first called Troy-novant, three thousand years ago. The 
Trojans took them captive, and chained them to the 
gates of a palace on the site of Guildhall, and kept 
them there as porters. When they died, their effigies 
were set up in their places. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 233 

There is another legend concerning them ; but, what- 
ever the facts may be, the two giants have been the 
pride of London from time immemorial. 

On London Bridge they welcomed Henry V. in 141 5 ; 
they welcomed Henry VI. to London in 1432 ; and in 
1554, Philip and Mary. In 1558 they stood by Temple 
Bar when Elizabeth passed through the city gate to 
take possession of her kingdom. The ancient effigies, 
which were made of wicker-work and pasteboard, were 
carried through the streets in the Lord Mayor's shows ; 
and copies of the present giants were in the show of 

1837. 

Formerly other towns in England had their giants, 
and there are some famous and some very large ones 
in several Continental cities. The Antigonus of Ant- 
werp is forty feet high, and was formerly carried in the 
most solemn religious,, as well as civic, processions. 
Though it is now impossible to ascertain the facts, 
there can be little doubt that all these civic giants are 
exaggerated representatives of real persons and events. 



194. THE MOUND-BUILDERS. 

In the central part of North America, along the val- 
leys of the Mississippi and the Ohio rivers, from the 
Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, there are remains 
of the works of an extinct race of people, now known 
as the " Mound-Builders." Very little is known of 
their history, except that they were a people akin to 
those who settled in Mexico and Central America, and 
that they were a very different race of people from the 
North-American Indians. 

They are generally considered the aborigines of this 



234 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

continent, which is fast proving itself to be as old, if 
not older, than the eastern continent. 

At what time these people made their appearance in 
North America, and erected the mounds from which 
they are named " Mound-Builders," is uncertain, and 
can never, perhaps, be fully ascertained ; but antiquari- 
ans who have investigated these wonderful monuments, 
assure us that they have full proof that the builders 
enjoyed a high state of civilization, were expert agri- 
culturists, good mathematicians, adepts in the arts, and 
devotees of some form, or of different forms, of reli- 
gious faith. 

Of these mounds, or tumuli, it is said that ten thou- 
sand are found in the State of Ohio alone. Some of 
these have evidently been built as mausoleums, others 
for defence, still others as altars on which to offer sac- 
rifices ; but it is difficult to assign a reason for those 
built in the shape of various animals, such as alligators, 
buffaloes, eagles, serpents, etc. 

Several of these mounds cover many hundred acres 
of ground. One near Newark, O., forms a perfect cir- 
cle a mile in circumference, and twenty feet high. It 
is large enough to accommodate the county fair of the 
Agricultural Society ; and upon it, beech, maple, and 
hickory trees have grown luxuriantly, showing, it is 
believed, that the erection of this mound far antedates 
the time of Columbus. In the same county is the 
"Alligator Mound," which is two hundred and fifty 
feet long, and fifty feet wide. The famous "Serpent 
Mound," on Brush Creek, Adams County, O., is more 
than one thousand feet in length : the embankment is 
five feet high, and has a base of thirty feet at the 
centre of the body, diminishing slightly toward the 
head and tail. In West Virginia, there stands a sepul- 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 2T,S 

chral mound, which is seventy feet in vertical height, 
and has a circumference of nine hundred feet. 

In the mounds of Ohio, there is frequently a com- 
bination of a square and two circles ; and, wherever 
found, they correspond in this respect, that the sides 
of the squares measure exactly one thousand and eighty 
feet, and the adjacent circles have a circumference of 
seventeen hundred and eight hundred feet respectively. 

In the construction of the military mounds, still 
greater mathematical skill is shown. They are erected 
on high ground, and often in groups extending several 
miles, and all connected one with another. 

Such of the sepulchral mounds as have been exca- 
vated are found to contain human bones ; but they 
crumble into dust when exposed to the air, so that no 
estimate of the size or national characteristics of the 
race can be formed. In the figures of heads on the 
pottery, and especially on clay pipe-bowls found in 
the mines, there is a strong resemblance to the sculp- 
tured heads found in the ruins in Yucatan. 

It is thought that the Aztecs, found in Mexico by 
Cortez ; and the ancient Peruvians, whose empire was 
destroyed by Pizarro, — may have been remnants of the 
Mound-Builders, who were driven south by invading 
hordes (such as our Indian tribes) from the other conti- 
nent across Behring's Strait; but this is all conjecture. 

In the Mississippi valley, the mounds are very nu- 
merous ; and it is said that some of them, as is shown 
by the growth of trees and by the excavation of antique 
articles, cannot be less than two thousand years old. 
One of these represents a man with two heads ; the 
body being fifty feet long, and twenty-five feet across 
the breast. 

Who the Mound-Builders were, remains to be an- 



236 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

swered ; yet, so long as the mounds exist, they testify 
to the fact, that, at a very remote age, a race of people, 
now extinct, was in possession of this country, from 
the frozen lakes of the North to the Gulf of Mexico, 
and from Vermont to the Rocky Mountains. 

For further information, see "Prehistoric Times," 
Lubbock ; " The Recent Origin of Man," Southall ; 
"Primitive Man," Figuier; "Prehistoric Races of the 
United States," Foster. 



195. "A DREAM OF FAIR WOMEN" (TENNYSON). 

In his "Dream of Fair Women," Tennyson has not 
introduced his characters by name, but by some lead- 
ing event in the life of each. Thus, in verses 21 to 
24: — 

"At length I saw a lady within call, 

Stiller than chiselled marble, standing there; 
A daughter of the gods, divinely tall. 
And most divinely fair. 

Her loveliness with shame and with surprise 
Froze my swift speech ; she turning on my face 

The star-like sorrows of immortal eyes, 
Spoke slowly in her place. 

* I had great beauty ; ask thou not my name : 
No one can be more wise than destiny. 

Many drew swords and died. Where'er I came 
I brought calamity.' " 

Helen of Troy is readily recognized. According to 
the poet, she was the daughter of Leda and Jupiter, 
and the most beautiful woman of her age. She had 
suitors from all parts of Greece, but accepted Mene- 
laus. King of Sparta. Three years after her marriage 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 237 

she eloped with Paris (son of the King of Troy) : this 
brought on a war between the Greeks and the Trojans, 
whicli lasted for ten years, ending in the destruction 
of Troy. This series of events forms the subject of 
Homer's Iliad, and the return of the Greeks from 
Troy his Odyssey. 



" And turning I appealed 

To one that stood beside." 



"'My youth,' she said, ' was blasted with a curse : 
This woman was the cause.' " 

Iphigenia is here introduced. She was the daughter 
of Agamemnon, King of Argos. Her father having 
offended the goddess Diana, he had sworn to propitiate 
her by offering as a sacrifice the most beautiful thing 
that should come into his possession during the year : 
this was an infant daughter. He deferred, however, 
the payment of his vow until Iphigenia had grown to 
womanhood. When the Greeks were ready to sail for 
Troy, they were detained by contrary winds ; and Cal- 
chis the seer said that Diana was angry because Aga- 
memnon had not paid his vow. This he prepared at 
once to do ; but, just as Iphigenia was about to be sac- 
rificed, Diana came to her rescue, substituted a hind 
in her place, and carried Iphigenia away to Taurus, 
where she became her priestess. Her story is the sub- 
ject of three tragedies, by Euripides, Racine, and 
Goethe, and has been a favorite theme for poets. 

" I turning saw, throned on a flowery rise, 
One sitting on a crimson scarf unrolled ; 
A queen, with swarthy cheeks and bold black eyes, 
Brow-bound with burnincr orold." 



238 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Cleopatra, the last Queen of Egypt (69-30 B.C.). 

..." So stood I, when that flow 
Of music left the lips of her that died 
To save her father's vow ; 

The daughter of the warrior Gileadite, 
A maiden pure.'' 

Jephtha's daughter. (See Judg. xi. 30). 



" ' Alas ! alas ! ' a low voice, full of care, 

Murmured beside me ; ' Turn and look on me : 
I am that Rosamond, whom men call fair, 
If what I was I be.' " 

"Fair Rosamond" was Jane Clifford, daughter of 
Lord Clifford, loved by Henry II., who kept her con- 
cealed in a labyrinth at Woodstock. She was poisoned 
by Henry's queen, the "angered Eleanor," in the year 
1 177. 

References to Rosamond are found in two of Sir 
Walter Scott's novels, — "The Talisman " and "Wood- 
stock." Her sad story has been also a favorite theme 
with poets. 



" Morn broadened on the borders of the dark, 
Ere I saw her, who clasped in her last trance 
Her murdered father's head." 

This was Margaret Roper, daughter of Sir Thomas 
More, a famous English statesman, and the author of 
"Utopia" (q.v.). When Henry VII I. of England as- 
sumed the title of "Head of the Church," More refused 
to take the oath to him under that title. He was tried, 
condemned for treason, and executed in the Tower of 
London (July 6, 1535); and his head was exposed to 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 239 

public view on London Bridge. His daughter Marga- 
ret, devotedly faithful to her father through his perse- 
cution, succeeded in obtaining possession of his head. 
She guarded it with great care during h'er lifetime, and 
requested that at her death it should be placed in her 
arms, and buried with her. 

..." Or Joan of Arc, 
A light of ancient France." 

Also called the "Maid of Orleans." She was born 
at Domremy, Lorraine, about 141 1. She restored 
Charles VII. to the throne of France, but was finally, . 
in 143 1, taken prisoner, and burned in Rouen by order 
of the English, on a charge of witchcraft. 



" Or her, who knew that Love can vanquish Death, 
Who kneeling, with one arm about her king, 
Drew forth the poison with her balmy breath." 

Eleanor of Castile, the first wife of Edward I. of 
England, is here referred to. The incident took place 
previous to the accession of Edward to the throne, 

Alfred Tennyson, the author of this poem, was born 
in Lincolnshire, England, in 1809. His first poems 
were published when he was eighteen years of age ; 
but it was not until he was thirty-three years old that 
he wrote "Morte d' Arthur," "Locksley Hall," and the 
"Two Voices," which made him famous. 

In 1850, on the death of William Wordsworth, he 
became poet-laureate, or poet to the crown. His "Idyls 
of the King," consisting of a series of poems taken 
from legends about King Arthur, is considered the 
finest epic poem the English language has produced 
for two hundred years. Lord Tennyson's home, in the 
Isle of Wight, is called Farringford. 



240 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

196. THE CENTRAL-PARK OBELISK. 

The history of the obelisk in Central Park, New 
York, dates back (according to Dr. Brugsch Bey, the 
great Egyptologist) to the time of Thutmes III., 1600 
B.C. Some authorities maintain that he is the Pha- 
raoh, who, with his host, was overthrown in the Red 
Sea. The obelisk bears three separate sets of hiero- 
glyphic inscriptions (translated by Dr. Brugsch Bey), 
marking three important epochs in the history of 
Egypt; viz., — 

I. Thutmes IIL, "the Alexander the Great of the Pharaonic 
period," or Egypt in the height of her prosperity. 

IL Rameses II., the epoch when Egypt had ceased to conquer, 
and was merely defending herself against Asiatic preponderance. 

III. Usorkpn I., the epoch of the decline of the ancient Egyp- 
tian Empire. 

Thutmes III., wishing to honor the solar divinity at 
On (Heliopolis), caused two obelisks to be erected in 
front of the Temple of the Sun at that place, as a thank- 
offering for the protection this divinity had afforded 
him in his campaigns in Central Africa and Mesopo- 
tamia. His inscriptions form the middle perpendicular 
lines of each face of the obelisk. 

Three centuries later Rameses II. had these two 
obelisks removed to Alexandria ; and when his wars 
were ended he caused his name and titles to be in- 
scribed upon the obelisks on each side of the inscrip- 
tions of his renowned ancestor, Thutmes III. 

King Usorkon I. (933 B.C.) is supposed to have 
visited Alexandria, and to have ordered his name also 
to be inscribed upon the obelisk of his ancestors, the 
two greatest Pharaohs of Egyptian history ; for we 
see them on the extreme edsres in small characters. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 24 1 

In 1877 Ismail Pasha, father of the present Khedive of 
Egypt, signified his wish to present an obelisk to the 
United States. After the selection had been made, 
the entire control of the operations attending its re- 
moval was intrusted to the late Lieut. -Commander 
Henry H. Gorringe, U.S.N., who conducted the whole 
affair in a most satisfactory manner, from the taking- 
down of the obelisk at Alexandria, to the re-erecting 
of it on its present site. 

The time occupied in its removal was exactly one 
year and four months : the removal of the obelisk of 
Luxor to Paris' occupied six years' time. 

The whole cost of transportation, about ;^ 105,000, was 
defrayed by Mr. William H. Vanderbilt of New York. 

The machinery for moving this great monolith was 
all made in this country : it consisted simply of a pair 
of iron trunnions and a pair of steel derricks. 

The stone was carried overland seven miles to the 
government dock at Alexandria, and was then put in 
the hold of the steamship " Dessoug" (a vessel of six- 
teen hundred tons), which reached New York, July 20, 
1880. 

The work of moving it across the city was skilfully 
managed ; and exactly at noon on the 22d of January, 
188 1, this stranger from the banks of the Nile was 
placed on the site prepared for it in the New World, in 
the presence of about five thousand people. 

The height of the obelisk, including the base on 
which it stands, is 80 feet, 1 1 inches. The weight, 
with pedestal and foundation, is 712,000 pounds. The 
total elevation from mean high water to the top of the 
obelisk is 194 feet, 6 inches. 

This monument of antiquity is an inestimable treas- 
ure to our country. We can hardly appreciate that 



242 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

we have, standing in New York, a column upon which 
Moses and Aaron looked, and whose hieroglyphics they 
could 'doubtless read ; that Darius, Cambyses, Alexan- 
der the Great, the Ptolemies, Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, 
Mark Antony, and Augustus were familiar with it. 

Grave fears are entertained that it will not stand our 
Northern climate. Some evidences of its beginning to 
crumble are already noticeable. 

This obelisk is red granite of Syene, and bears the 
name of " Cleopatra's Needle." 

The other of the two obelisks erected by Thutmes 
III., was removed to London, and placed on the Thames 
ernbankment, in 1878. 



197. THE BONE SAID TO BE THE NUCLEUS OF THE 
RESURRECTION BODY. 

" God formed them from the dust, and He once more 
Will give them strength and beauty as before." 

"The Emperor Adrian — the sceptic whose epigram- 
matic address to his soul in prospect of death (trans- 
lated by Byron) is well known — asked Rabbi Joshua 
Ben Hananiah, in the course of an interview following 
the successful siege of Bitter, ' How doth a man re- 
vive again in the world to come .'' ' He answered, and 
said, 'From the bone Luz, in the backbone.' Saith 
he to him, 'Demonstrate this to me.' Then he took 
Luz, a little bone out of the backbone, and put it in 
water, and it was not steeped ; he put it into the fire, 
and it was not burned ; he brought it to the mill, and 
that could not grind it ; he laid it on the anvil, and 
knocked it with a hammer, but the anvil was cleft, 
and the hammer broken. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 243 

" Butler, in his ' Hudibras,' erroneously traces to the 
Rabbinic belief, the modern name, os sacrum; its origin 
really being due to the custom of placing it upon the 
altar in ancient sacrifices." 

" The learned Rabbins of the Jews 
Write, there's a bone, which they call Lur. 
No force in nature can do hurt thereto ; 
And therefore, at the last great day. 
All th' other members shall, they say, 
Spring out of this, as from a seed." 



198. DYING WORDS OF POPE GREGORY VII. 
(HILDEBRAND). 

" I have loved justice, and hated iniquity ; therefore I die an 
exile." 

These were the last words of Pope Gregory VII. 
(Hildebrand), one of the most illustrious men of the 
Middle Ages, born about A.D. 1020. 

He was called to Rome in 1049 by Pope Leo IX., to 
assist in the papal councils as chancellor and cardinal ; 
and he held this office for twenty years, under five suc- 
cessive popes, over whom he exercised the influence of 
a great mind. 

In 1073 Hildebrand rose to the papal throne, under 
the title of Gregory VII. : he was the first Pope elected 
by the College of Cardinals. 

Until his time, the title of Pope was given to all 
bishops alike : he, however, in 1076, decreed that 
thenceforth it should be applied only to the Roman 
"papa," or pontiff, prefixing, at the same time, sanctus, 
whence the modern title, " His Holiness the Pope." 

Pope Gregory's first act was to strike a blow at what 
was called the "right of investiture," claimed by the 



244 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

emperors. This was the right of bestowing on abbots 
and bishops the ring and crosier, which were the sym- 
bols of their office, and which declared them to be the 
feudal vassals of the emperor. Pope Gregory caused 
it to be ordained by a council, that, if any one should 
accept "investiture" from a layman, both the giver 
and the receiver should be excommunicated, claiming 
that this right belonged exclusively to the Vicar of 
Christ. 

The emperor, Henry IV,, of Germany set this decree 
at defiance, and, assembling the nobles and prelates at 
Worms, deposed the Pope ; whereupon the Pope sol- 
emnly excommunicated the emperor (1076), and ab- 
solved his subjects in Germany and Italy from their 
oath of allegiance to him. Henry, enraged at this, 
prepared for war, and entered Italy to subdue his pow- 
erful foe. He was soon made to feel, however, that 
unseen power that had arisen to sway the minds of 
men. In every part of his empire, monks and friars 
preached against him; and insurrections arose on every 
hand, until at last Henry was forced to become an 
humble suitor for mercy at the hands of Gregory. 

On the 2 1 St of January, 1077, the emperor, Henry 
IV,, the most powerful sovereign of Europe, proceeded 
to the Castle of Canossa, Italy, a fortress belonging to 
the Countess Matilda, to seek pardon and absolution 
from the Pope. 

He was made to suffer the deepest humiliation ; and 
only after the most abject confession of his error, and 
standing for three days in an outer court of the castle, 
amid the cold of winter, barefoot, and clad only in a 
woollen shirt, was he absolved, and the interdict re- 
moved, 

Henry was no sooner released than he renewed the 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 245 

war, and Gregory was forced to flee from Rome. He 
died in exile at Salerno, A.D, 1085. 

The successors of Gregory adhered to his policy, 
until at length the German emperor, Henry V., yielded ; 
and by a treaty signed at Worms, A.D. 1122, he for- 
mally resigned all claim to investitures. 

The temporal power of the Pope reached its zenith 
in the latter part of the twelfth and the early part of 
the thirteenth centuries, under Pope Innocent HI. He 
claimed to be sovereign of Europe, — an earthly king 
of kings. 

After the thirteenth century the papal power de- 
clined ; but it was not until 1606, during the reign of 
James I. of England, that the famous Oath of Alle- 
giance was drawn up, which asserted the supremacy of 
the sovereign in ecclesiastical matters, denying the 
right of the Pope to depose him, or to absolve his 
subjects from their allegiance to him. 



199. THE ORIGINAL BLUEBEARD. 

The tale of Bluebeard was written by Perrault in the 
time of Louis XIV., and has been translated from the 
French into nearly all the languages of Europe. 

It is supposed that the idea of the story was sug- 
gested to Perrault by the life of a very wicked and 
atrocious man named Giles de Laval. 

Giles de Laval, Seigneur de Retz, better known in 
French history as Marshal de Retz, was born in France 
in or about the year 1396. He entered the service of 
Charles VII., and proved himself a brave and skilful 
soldier. 

He inherited, at different times, three large estates, 



246 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

and in 1432 was considered the richest subject in 
France. 

This immense fortune was the grand cause of his 
ruin. He plunged into a course of profligacy and de- 
bauchery which rapidly diminished his estate. Yet, 
withal, he affected great pomp and splendor in religious 
ceremonies. He was compelled by the parliament of 
Paris to stop disposing of his estates ; and, craving for 
wealth, he had recourse to alchemy. Failing to dis- 
cover the art of changing the baser metals into gold, 
he next turned to magic, and is reported to have made 
a contract with Satan to give him every thing except 
his own soul and life for boundless wealth. It was at 
this time that he began to immolate children. The 
poor creatures were decoyed into his power, and made 
the victims of his iniquities in various ways, and were 
finally put to death, and their blood and hearts used as 
charms in diabolical rites. 

The number of children who disappeared became so 
large, that the authorities took steps to investigate the 
matter. 

In 1440 Laval was arrested, and under threats of 
torture confessed his misdeeds. In most cases he 
burned the bodies, but sufficient remains were found 
to indicate forty-six victims at his castle of Chantoce 
and eighty at Machecoul. He was convicted, and exe- 
cuted in December, 1440. Probably on account of some 
personal peculiarity, Giles de Laval became remem- 
bered as Barbe-hleue, whence our Bluebeard, which 
speedily became a name of terror. 

The propensity of Bluebeard in the children's " Blue- 
beard " of Perrault is not to kill children, but to marry 
wife after wife, and to kill them in succession, and 
deposit them in a fatal closet. Each young wife was 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 247 

intrusted with all the keys of the castle, with strict 
injunctions, on pain of death, not to open one special 
room ; but woman's curiosity in each case cost her life, 
until finally, as the story goes, his last would-be victim 
was saved by the timely arrival of her brothers. She 
had, during the absence of her lord, opened the for- 
bidden door, and found the closet filled with the dead 
bodies of his former wives. She dropped the keys in 
her terror, and could by no means obliterate the stain 
of blood. 

Bluebeard, on his return, commands her to prepare 
for death ; but by the arrival of her brothers her life is 
saved, and Bluebeard put to death. 

Ludwick Tieck brought out a drama in Berlin on 
the story of Bluebeard. The incident about the doors 
and the keys is similar to that mentioned by "The 
Third Calender" in "The Arabian Nights;" and, in- 
deed, the origin of the story might be relegated to the 
beginning of " The Arabian Nights," where the deceived 
Sultan kills wife after wife, until the story-telling wit of 
one checks his murders by exciting his curiosity. 



200. THE HIGHEST MONUMENT IN THE WORLD. 

The monument erected in the city of Washington, 
D.C., to the memory of George Washington, first Presi- 
dent of the United States, is the highest in the world. 

Soon after the death of Washington, Congress recog- 
nized the propriety of erecting a monument to his mem- 
ory, and passed resolutions to that effect ; but no funds 
were appropriated, and for years no further steps were 
taken. 

In the year 1833 the National Washington Monu- 



248 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

ment Society was formed, to take the matter in hand. 
The plan adopted by the founders was to unite the 
efforts of the people of the whole country to erect a 
suitable monument to President Washington, At first, 
contributions were limited to a dollar annually from any 
one person, contributors to become members of the 
society. In 1836 advertisements were published, in- 
viting designs from American artists, the cost of the 
monument being estimated at ^1,000,000. The award 
was given to Robert Mills, the architect of the Interior 
Department. 

In January, 1848, Congress granted to the society a 
site for the monument, to be chosen in any of the unoc- 
cupied public grounds ; and the spot chosen is one that 
affords a fine view of it from both land and water, and 
overlooks Washington, Georgetown, Alexandria, Arling- 
ton, and Mount Vernon. 

The corner-stone was laid by President Polk, July 4, 
1848 ; and the work was then pushed until, in 1854, the 
shaft reached the height of 150 feet. 

Not long after this the funds of the society gave out, 
and a memorial was presented to Congress asking for 
assistance from that body ; but no visible results were 
obtained until 1876, when the sum of ;^200,ooo was 
appropriated, payable in annual instalments of ^50,cxx) 
each. The work was pushed with all possible rapidity 
to completion, and was dedicated Feb. 21, 1885 (the 
anniversary of Washington's birth, the 22d, falling on 
Sunday). 

The monument, as it stands to-day, differs materially 
from the original plan. There is no colonnade, but 
only the mound of earth covering the foundations ; and 
the marble shaft rises, in the dignity of unadorned sim- 
plicity, 555 feet in the air. The base of the shaft is 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 249 

55 feet square; and it tapers gradually, until, at the 500 
foot point, it is 34 feet 5i inches square. Here the 
pyramidal top begins, and is run to an apex 55 feet 
above the square masonry. The size of the well of the 
shaft is twenty-five feet to the height of 150 feet, when 
it increases to 31 feet 5-i- inches, and continues so to 
the top. 

The marble used for the completion of the monument 
came, for the most part, from Maryland quarries : it is 
said to contain eighteen thousand blocks of marble two 
feet thick. 

The work was very simple until the last courses for 
the apex were reached. It consisted in laying blocks 
of marble for the outside, and granite for the inside, 
each block being two feet in height. The exterior 
surface of the blocks has an upward slant of an inch 
for each course, giving a decrease of one foot in the 
width of each of the four sides of the monument in 
every twenty-four of the rise. 

The stones were lifted on an elevator run by steam, 
suspended in an interior framework of iron, that was 
built up at intervals, thirty or forty feet at a time, in 
advance of the surrounding masonry. 

When the five hundred and fifty feet level was 
reached, and it became impossible to carry the iron 
framework for the elevator any higher, a skeleton 
structure was built to support the slanting marble sides 
of the apex. These stones were lifted into place by 
means of a windlass set at the point to be finally occu- 
pied by the capstone. A platform was built out from 
the doorway on the east side of the five hundred and 
fifty feet level, and the stones were run out upon this 
platform, and then hoisted. When all but the last nine 
had been set, a temporary platform of wood was built 



2 so CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

around the apex, and the nine stones were hoisted upon 
this platform. Then the windlass was taken down, and 
four masts set up for use in laying the last stones. The 
pyramidal top terminates in an aluminum tip, which is 
nine inches high, and weighs a hundred ounces. The 
capstone was set in position Dec. 6, 1884, just thirty- 
six and a half years after the laying of the corner-stone. 

The door at the base, facing the Capitol, is eight feet 
wide, and sixteen feet high, and enters a room twenty- 
five feet square. At one side begin the stairs, of which 
there are fifty flights, containing eighteen steps each. 

Five hundred and twenty feet from the base, there 
are eight windows, 18X24 inches, two on each face. 
The area at the base of the pyramidal top is 1,187^ 
feet, — space enough for a six-room house, each room to 
be 12 X 16 feet. Externally the monument is complete, 
but it will take two years to complete the interior. 
When done, the total cost will amount to ^1,500,000. 



201. OLD STYLE AND NEW STYLE CALENDARS. 

About forty-five years before Christ, Julius Caesar 
having, by the help of Sosigenes, an Alexandrian phi- 
losopher, come to a more accurate measurement of the 
year, or the time of one revolution of the earth around 
the sun, decreed that every fourth year should be held 
to consist of three hundred and sixty-six days, in order 
to absorb the odd hours ; one revolution, strictly ex- 
pressed, being 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 49i|^ sec- 
onds. 

The Julian arrangement was, that one day in Feb- 
ruary of every fourth year, the sixth before the Calends 
of March (sextilis), should be bissextile, or as if the 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 25 I 

23d of February, in every fourth year, should be reck- 
oned twice. But as a whole day every fourth year was 
II minutes and 10^% seconds too much, the natural 
time fell behind the reckoning ; and the vernal equi- 
nox, which in the year 325 fell on the 21st of March, 
in 1582 fell on the nth of March, making a difference 
of ten days. 

To correct this error in time. Pope Gregory XIII. 
decreed that the 5th of October of that year, 1582, 
should be reckoned as the 15th; and, to keep the year 
right in future, he ordered that every hundredth year, 
that could not be divided by four, should not be bissex- 
tile. 

The Pope made use of his power to secure the adop- 
tion of the new or Gregorian style in all Catholic 
countries of Europe; but England, Sweden, and Russia 
still retained the old or Julian style. In 1752 the dis- 
crepancy between the Julian and Gregorian calendars 
amounted to eleven days. 

The English merchants found it a great inconven- 
ience to use a different mode of computing time from 
their foreign correspondents ; and the hatred of the 
Pope, which led to the retention of this error for so 
long a time after it had been discovered, having greatly 
subsided, the British Parliament ordered the "new 
style " to be adopted in England. 

The eleven days were taken out of September of 
the year 1752, the day after the 2d being called the 
14th instead of the 3d. The year ecclesiastical was 
reckoned to begin on the 25th of March, or lady-day, 
and the secular year on Jan. i. So that, in many 
older writings, we find a date given thus, Feb. i, 
1601-2 ; meaning that it was in 1601 of the ecclesi- 
astical, and in 1602 of the secular, year. The former 



252 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

computation was gradually disused, and is now never 
employed. 

In Russia alone, of all Christian countries, is the old 
style still retained ; wherefore it becomes necessary for 
one writing in that country to any foreign correspond- 
ent, to set his date thus : — March, or — ~. 

24 9 Jan., 1885 



202. THE WITCH OF ENDOR. 

The "Witch of Endor" was the woman consulted by 
King Saul when the hosts of the Philistines were ar- 
rayed against him. See i Sam. xxviii. 7-21. 

A tradition preserved by Jerome makes her the 
mother of Abner, therefore the aunt of King Saul. 

It is supposed to be on this account that she escaped 
from the wholesale slaughter of witches made by order 
of Saul. Abner was his first cousin and the command- 
er-in-chief of his armies. Abner and Amas are also 
named by tradition as the companions of Saul, and eye- 
witnesses of the facts recorded in the First Book of 
Samuel, chapter xxviii. 

Pope Innocent VIII. issued a bull against witchcraft 
in 1484. 

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries an 
incredible number of persons were put to death for 
witchcraft. 

The laws against witchcraft in England were re- 
pealed in 1736, during the reign of George II. 

The last victims were Mrs. Hicks, and her daughter 
aged nine years: they were executed in 171 6. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 253 

203. "SNOW-BOUND" (WHITTIER). 

Who that has read that beautiful " Winter Idyl,"— 
"To the Memor}'- of the Household it describes," — has 
not- wanted to know whether it was an ideal, or a real 
picture of a " snow-bound " home ? 

A late letter from the poet says, " * Snow-Bound ' 

is dedicated to my own family, all of whom, save one 

brother, being then dead. My brother has since died," 

How much added interest this assurance gives to- 

the lines, — 

"What matter how the night behaved ? 

What matter how the north-wind raved ? 

Blow high, blow low, not all its snow 

Could quench our hearth-fire's ruddy, glow. 

O Time and Change ! — with hair as gray 

As was my sire's that winter day, 

How strange it seems, with so much gone 

Of life and love, to still live on ! 

Ah, brother ! only I and thou 

Are left of all that circle now, — 

The dear home faces whereupon 

That fitful firelight paled and shone. 

Henceforward, listen as we will. 

The voices of that hearth are still ; 

Look where we may, the wide earth o'er. 

Those lighted faces smile no more. 

Yet Love will dream, and Faith will trust 
(Since He who knows our need is just), 
That somehow, somewhere, meet we must. 
Alas for him who never sees 
The stars shine through his cypress-trees ! 
Who, hopeless, lays his dead away, 
Nor looks to see the breaking day 
Across the mournful marbles play ! 
Who hath not learned, in hours of faith, 
The truth to flesh and sense unknown^ 
That Life is ever lord of Death, 
And Love can never lose its own ! " 



.254 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

The interest deepens as the home scenes are un- 
folded, — the share each has in the winter tale, — "Our 
father," "Our mother," "Our uncle," "The dear aunt," 
"Our elder sister," "Our youngest and our dearest," 
"The master of the district school." Then comes the 
forcible description of a character that forms the climax 
'Of the poem : — 

" Another guest that winter night 

Flashed back from lustrous eyes the light. 

Unmarked by time, and yet not young, 

The honeyed music of her tongue 

And words of meekness scarcely told 

A nature passionate and bold, 

Strong, self-concentred, spurning guide, 

Its milder features dwarfed beside 

Her unbent will's majestic pride. 

She sat among us, at the best, 

A not unfeared, half-welcome guest, 

Rebuking with her cultured phrase 

Our homeliness of words and ways. 

A certain pard-like, treacherous grace 

Swayed the lithe limbs and dropped the lash, 

Lent the white teeth their dazzling flash ; 

And under low brows, black with night, 

Rayed out at times a dangerous light ; 

The sharp heat-lightnings of her face 

Presaging ill to him whom Fate 

Condemned to share her love or hate, 

A woman tropical, intense 

In thought and act, in soul and sense, 

She blended in a like degree 

The vixen and the devotee. 

Revealing with each freak or feint 

The temper of Petruchio's Kate, 

The raptures of Siena's saint. 

Her tapering hand and rounded wrist 

Had facile power to form a fist ; 

The warm, dark languish of her eyes 

Was never safe from wrath's surprise. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 255 

Brows saintly calm and lips devout 

Knew every change of scowl" and pout; 

And the sweet voice had notes more high 

And shrill for social battle-cry. 

Since then what old cathedral-town 

Has missed her pilgrim staff and gown, 

What convent-gate has held its lock 

Against the challenge of her knock ! 

Through Smyrna's plague-hushed thoroughfares, 

Up sea-set Malta's rocky stairs, 

Gray olive-slopes of hills that hem 

Thy tombs and shrines, Jerusalem, 

Or startling on her desert throne 

The crazy Queen of Lebanon 

With claims fantastic as her own. 

Her tireless feet have held their way; 

And still, unrestful, bowed, and gray, 

She watches under Eastern skies. 

With hope each day renewed and fresh, 

The Lord's quick coming in the flesh, 

Whereof she dreams and prophesies ! " 



We recognize " the guest " as Harriet Livermore ; 
" the crazy Queen of Lebanon " as Lady Hester Stan- 
hope. 

Of Harriet Livermore, the author of the poem, in 
another letter, says, " As to Harriet Livermore of the 
* Snow-Bound,' she was the daughter of Judge Liver- 
more of New Hampshire, a gifted, eccentric woman, 
who spent a year or two in my neighborhood when I 
was a boy. She was nearly thirty years in Europe and 
Asia, wandering about on what she regarded as a reli- 
gious mission, visiting convents and monasteries. 

She was an ill-regulated character, — devout, violent 
in temper, and perhaps at times almost insane. She 
spent some time with Lady Hester Stanhope on the 
slopes of Mount Lebanon. 



256 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

But how beautifully the poet draws the veil of charity 
over such a character as he goes on to say, — 

" Where'er her troubled path may be, 
The Lord's sweet pity with her go ! 
The outward wayward hfe we see, 
The hidden springs we may not know. 
Nor is it given us to discern 
What threads the fatal sisters spun, 
Through what ancestral years had run 
The sorrow with the woman born, 
What forged her cruel chain of moods. 
What set her feet in solitudes, 
And held the love within her mute, 
What mingled madness in the blood, 
A life-long discord and annoy, 
Water of tears with oil of joy, 
And hid within the folded bud 
Perversities of flower and fruit. 
It is not ours to separate 
The tangled skein of will and fate. 
To show what metes and bounds should stand 
Upon the soul's debatable land, 
And between choice and Providence 
Divide the circle of events ; 
But He who knows our frame is just. 
Merciful and compassionate, 
And full of sweet assurances 
And hope for all the language is. 
That He remembereth we are dust." 



204. LADY HESTER STANHOPE. 

Lamartine, in his "Voyage en Orient," gives a fine 
description of his visit to Lady Hester Stanhope's 
retreat on the slopes of Mount Lebanon, 

" Lady Hester Stanhope, ni-ece of Mr. Pitt, after the death of 
her uncle, left England, and travelled over Europe. Young, beau- 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 257 

tiful, and rich, she received everywhere the welcome due to her 
rank, her fortune, her intelligence, and her beauty. 

" But she refused constantly to unite her destiny to that of her 
most worthy admirers ; and, after a few years passed in the capitals 
of Europe, she started, with numerous followers, for Constantinople, 
The motive for this voluntary exile could never be fully determined. 
Some attributed it to the death of a young English general killed 
about that time in Spain ; others to a simple love of adventure, 
which the enterprising and courageous character of this young lady 
might well lead them to believe. But, whatever it might be, she 
started. After a few years spent in Constantinople, she started 
for Syria in an English vessel. She carried with her a large por- 
tion of her treasures, — immense wealth in jewels and presents of 
all kinds. 

" A storm assailed the vessel in the Gulf of Macri, on the coast 
of Caramime, opposite the island of Rhodes. The vessel grounded 
on a rock a few miles from the coast. It was almost instantly 
wrecked, and the treasures of Lady Stanhope were ingulfed in the 
waves. She herself narrowly escaped death, and was carried on a 
piece of the vessel to a small, deserted island, where she spent 
twenty-four hours without food and without assistance. At last 
some fishermen of Marmoriza, who were searching for debris of 
the shipwreck, discovered her, and took her to Rhodes, where she 
made herself known to the English consul. 

"This deplorable event did not weaken her resolution. She 
went to Malta, and from there to England. She gathered together 
the remains of her fortune, sold at a great loss a portion of her 
domains, laded a second vessel with rich presents for the coun- 
tries which she desired to pass through, and again set sail. The 
voyage was successful ; and she landed at Latakia, the ancient 
Laodicea, on the coast of Syria, between Tripoli and Alexandria, 

" She established herself in the neighborhood, learned the Ara- 
bic, surrounded herself with persons who could facilitate her rela- 
tions with the different tribes — Arabs, Druses, Maronites — of the 
country; and she prepared herself (as I was doing at the same 
time) to make voyages of discovery in the least accessible parts of 
Arabia, Mesopotamia, and the desert. When she had familiarized 
herself with the language, customs, and the usages of the country, 
she organized a numerous caravan, loaded camels with rich pres- 
ents for the Arabs, and travelled through the different parts oi 



258 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Syria. She sojourned at Jerusalem, at Damascus, at Aleppo, at 
Baalbec, and Palmyra. It was in this last place that the numerous 
wandering Arab tribes, which had allowed her to visit the ruins^ 
assembled around her to the number of about fifty thousand, and 
charmed with her beauty, grace, and magnificence, proclaimed her 
the Queen of Palmyra, and gave to her passports by which it was 
agreed that all Europeans protected by her could visit in safety the 
desert, the ruins of Baalbec and Palmyra, provided that he agreed 
to pay a tribute of a thousand dollars. This treaty still exists^ 
and would be faithfully executed by the Arabs if they could have 
positive proofs of the protection of Lady Stanhope. 

"On her return to Palmyra she was nearly captured by a numer- 
ous tribe of other Arabs, enemies of those of Palmyra. She was- 
warned in time by one of her own, and owed her salvation and that 
of her caravan to a forced midnight march and the fleetness of her 
horses, which travelled in twenty-four hours an incredible space o£ 
the desert. She returned to Damascus, where she resided a few 
months under the protection of the Turkish Pasha, to whom the 
Porte had recommended her very heartily. 

"After a wandering life in all the countries of the Orient, Lady 
Stanhope fixed herself at last in an almost inaccessible solitude on 
one of the mountains of Lebanon, in the neighborhood of Sidon. 

"The Pasha of Abdalla, who had for her a great respect, — an 
absolute devotedness, — conceded to her the ruins of a convent 
and the village of Digioun, settled by the Druses. 

" Lady Stanhope was about fifty years of age. She had those 
features that years do not change. Freshness, color, grace, dis- 
appear with youth ; but when beauty is in the form, in the purity 
of the lines, in the dignity, the majesty, the expression of man or 
woman, beauty changes with the different epochs of life, but does 
not pass away. 

" Such was that of Lady Stanhope." 



205. A CLEPSYDRA. 

Among the valuable presents sent to the Emperor 
Charlemagne by Haroun al Raschid, which astonished 
the Western world by their rarity, and the ingenuity 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 259- 

displayed in their construction, was a clepsydra, or 
water-clock of metal. From the admiration this clock 
elicited, we are led to presume that the clepsydra — first 
used by the Romans — was a lost art to the Western 
people. 

The Romans had used the clepsydra to limit time in 
courts. That of Ctesilaus of Alexandria, 135 B.C., had 
p, little figure which rose with the water, and pointed 
out the hours. But the more simple ones consisted of 
a vase filled with water, with a small opening at the 
bottom, through which the water escaped, drop by 
drop, into a vessel beneath, which was said by the- 
Romans to steal the water, clepsydra meaning water- 
stealer. The sides of the vase were divided by lines,. 
and the height of the water marked the time. 

But the clepsydra sent to Charlemagne, in its deli- 
cate and complicated machinery, showed what great 
progress mechanical art had made in the East. " It 
had twelve gates corresponding to the twelve hours. 
When the hour was striking on the clock, one of the 
gates opened itself, from which proceeded a regular 
number of small brass balls ; and these, falling in turn 
on a brazen vessel, marked the hour by the noise which 
they caused : the eye perceived the hour by the number 
of opened gates, and the ear by the number of falling 
balls. At the twelfth hour, twelve small horsemen is- 
sued out, each through its gate, and closed them all by 
their momentum in their course round the dial. 

The clepsydra, or water-clock, is still used in some 
countries ; but, the flow of water being affected by tem- 
perature and barometric pressure, the pendulum ha& 
superseded it in modern times. 

The invention of pendulum-clocks is, by some, as- 
cribed to Pacificus, Arch-deacon of Verona, in the ninth 



,26o CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

century ; and by others to Boethius, in the early part 
of the sixth. The Saracens are said to have had clocks 
moved by weights in the eleventh century ; and, as 
Dante applies the term to a machine which struck the 
hours, clocks must have been known in Italy at the 
end of the thirteenth, or beginning of the fourteenth, 
century. The most ancient clock of which there is 
any certain record was erected in a tower of the palace 
of Charles V., King of France, in 1364, by Henry de 
Wyck, a German artist. A clock was erected at Stras- 
bourg, in 1370, at Courtray, about the same time, and 
at Speyer in 1395. 

The invention of the pendulum was suggested to 
Galileo by a circumstance somewhat similar to that 
which started Newton's mind to the discovery of the 
theory of gravitation. 

When Galileo was standing one day in the Metro- 
politan Church of Pisa, he observed a lamp, which was 
suspended from the ceiling, and which had been moved 
by accident, swing backwards and forwards. Thou- 
sands of people might have observed it before ; but 
Galileo, noticing the regularity with which it moved, 
reflected upon it until he was enabled to perfect the 
method of measuring time now in use by means of a 
wheel and pendulum. Watches are said to have been 
made at Nuremberg as early as 1477, but the watches 
of that early date bear a very small resemblance to 
those now in use. Some were immensely large, and 
some so small that they could be fitted into the top of 
a walking-stick. As time-keepers, they could have 
been of very little value until the application of the 
spiral spring, invented by Hooke, in 1658. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 26 1 

206. STATUE OF ST. BRUNO. 

The famous statue of St. Bruno, at Rome, was ex- 
ecuted by that master of French sculpture, Houdon 
(1741-1828). 

At the invitation of Franklin, Houdon visited Amer' 
ica in the year 1785, and took casts for the statue of 
Washington (now at Richmond, Va.), which Lafayette 
declared to be the best likeness obtained of the "Amer- 
ican Patriot." 

St. Bruno belonged to the order of Trappists, whose 
chief law was silence. 

Pope Clement XIV., on seeing the statue, exclaimed, 
" He would speak did not the rule of his order forbid ! " 
St. Bruno founded the order of Carthusians, or C^?rt<^- 
house monks. 



207. A KING THAT COULD NOT SPEAK THE LAN 
GUAGE OF HIS KINGDOM. 

George Lewis, Duke of Brunswick, Elector of Han 
over, came to the throne of England on the death of 
Queen Anne, 1714, with the title of George I. He 
was not the nearest heir to the throne, but became king 
by an Act of Parliament, made some years previous, 
which secured the succession to the Protestant descend- 
ants of the electress of Hanover, in order to cut off the 
Roman-Catholic house of Stuarts. 

George I. never liked England, and the English peo- 
ple never liked him. He could not speak even one 
word of their language. He was very unkind to his 
son, and kept his wife in prison for thirty-three years, 
until her death. It was during his reign that the 
great monetary crisis took place, known as the South- 
sea Bubble. 

This was a scheme devised by Sir John Blunt, a 



262 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

lawyer, by which it was intended to buy up the national 
debt of England by securing the sole right of trading 
in the South Seas. 

The bubble burst in 1720, ruining thousands of peo- 
ple. The term is now applied to any scheme which 
has a plausible promise, but whose collapse would be 
ruinous to all concerned in it. George I, died June 
10, 1727, and was succeeded by his son, George II. 
His reign was made glorious by many great artists, 
authors, soldiers, and statesmen. Several important 
events occurred during his reign : the War of the 
Austrian Succession, the Seven Years' War, the con- 
quests in India, and a rebellion headed by Charles 
Edward, grandson of James II., in which the hopes 
of the Stuarts were forever crushed by the victory of 
Culloden (q.v.). In 1752 the new method of reckon- 
ing time was adopted in England (q.v.). 

George II. could speak only very broken English : he 
died in 1760, and was succeeded by his grandson, 
George III. 

He was the first of the Hanoverian line born on 
the soil of Great Britain. He reigned sixty years, the 
longest in the history of England ; and many very im- 
portant events occurred, such as the American Revo- 
lution, the French Revolution, etc. The King lost 
his reason in 1810: and his son, afterwards George IV., 
was appointed regent ; as such, he governed England for 
ten years. George III. was a man of high moral char- 
acter, and in his opening speech in Parliament is re- 
ported to have said, " I glory in the name of Briton ! " 

George IV. became King of England in 1820, and 
reigned ten years from that date. 

He was notedly immoral as Prince of Wales, and is 
said not to have mended his ways after he became king. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 263 

He was very unkind to his wife, the Princess Car- 
oline of Brunswick (q.v.), bringing her to trial on 
charges of which the Parliament declared her not 
guilty. The death of his lovely daughter, Princess 
Charlotte, was a great grief to all England ; as she was 
the only heir-apparent to the throne. 

George IV. died in 1830, and was succeeded by his 
brother, William IV. (q.v.). William died in 1837, and 
was succeeded by his niece, the present Queen Victoria. 

The united reigns of the first three Georges cover a 
period of one hundred and sixteen years. 

When we say that George I. could not speak the 
English language, and that George II. spoke it very 
brokenly, we really mean that these German kings had 
nothing in common with the English people. What, 
then, ruled them so well for so many years ? The ex- 
cellent Eno:lish " Constitution." 



208. "TO ERR IS HUMAN, TO FORGIVE DIVINE." 

"To what base ends, and by what abject ways, 
Are mortals urged through sacred lust of praise ! 
Ah ! ne'er so dire a thirst of glory boast, 
Nor in the critic let the man be lost. 
Good nature and good sense must ever join ; 
To err is human, to forgive divine." 

The lines above quoted are from "An Essay on 
Criticism " by Alexander Pope, and have become almost 
universally used to express charity towards the failings 
and follies of others. 

The following well-known quotations are also from 
his writings : — 

" A little learning is a dangerous thing ; 
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring : 



264 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, 
And drinking largely sobers us again." 

" Worth makes the man, and want of it the fellow.- 

" Honor and shame from no condition rise ; 
Act well your part, there all the honor lies." 

" A wit's a feather, and a chief a rod ; 
An honest man's the noblest work of God." 

The poetic endowments of Pope were of th^ first 
order ; and there occur in his works, short passsages 
that are among the gems of English poetry, and ex- 
pressions that have become household words. In fact, 
no English poet has furnished so many brief quotations 
as he has. 

Alexander Pope was born in London, on May 21 or 
22, 1688, and died May 30, 1744. He was the son of 
a retired tradesman, and, being a very sickly child, was 
thrown much upon the companionship of books, which 
he read with eagerness and delight. 

He commenced to write before he was twelve years 
old, and, before reaching manhood, had written many 
beautiful lines. He never became robust, and was very 
small, being only four feet tall. He was much perse- 
cuted and annoyed by some of his contemporaries, and 
many of his poems were very harshly criticised. He 
spent five years translating Homer's Iliad, by which 
he made five thousand pounds. He also translated the 
Odyssey. His chief works are " An Essay on Criti- 
cism," "Rape of the Lock," "Messiah," and "An 
Essay on Man." 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 265 

209. HERALDRY IN ENGLAND. 

Armorial bearings are of ancient origin ; but they did 
not acquire a systematized form in England until the 
reign of Henry III., or at the end of the thirteenth 
century. 

Armorial bearings are also called "coats-of-arms." 
They are figurative marks of distinction assigned to 
individuals by certain courts, which are appointed by 
the sovereigns, and are known as The Herald's College, 
England ; The College of Arms, Ireland ; The Lyon 
Court, Scotland. The highest class consists of a shield 
with supporters and a crest along with a motto ; but 
only members of the peerage, or those particularly 
qualified, are entitled to supporters. A shield is a tri- 
angular figure with the point downwards, and its colors 
and emblematic devices are in some way significant of 
the history of the family bearing it. 

The tinctures (colors) are as follows : — 



Gold, termed Or. 
Fur, " Vair. 
Blue, " Azure. 
Green, " Vert. 



Silver, termed Argent. 
Red, " Gules. 

Black, " Sable. 
Purple, " Purpure. 



The surface of the shield is called the field. In Eng- 
land the assumption of arms by private individuals was 
first restrained by a proclamation of Henry V., which 
prohibited every one who had not borne arms at Agin- 
court to assume them, except in virtue of inheritance 
or a grant from the crown. The wrongful assumption 
of arms is an act for which the assumer may be sub- 
jected to penalties. The use of arms subjects the 
bearer of them to an annual tax. 

Besides individuals, countries and states are entitled 
to the use of arms. 



266 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Previous to the union of the crowns, the supporters 
of the shield of England were two lions, and those of 
Scotland two unicorns. 

After the union of the crowns, there was a lion on 
one side and a unicorn on the other. Before the union, 
the shield of England bore three lions passant (walk- 
ing) on a field of gold : the shield of Scotland bore a 
lion rampant, or standing on its hind-legs, on a field of 
gold. Scott, in " Marmion," refers to the royal banner 
of Scotland, — 

" The ruddy lion rampant in gold." 

The royal shield of the United Kingdoms of Great 
Britain and Ireland, now quartered, bears the three 
lions of England in the first and fourth quarter, the 
lion of Scotland in the second, and in the third the 
harp of Ireland, — the whole significant of the union of 
the several countries under one sovereign. 

Henry VIII. was the first to assume the title of 
"King of Ireland." The title of "King of Great Brit- 
ain " was assumed by James VI. of Scotland when he 
became James I. of England, an event known in his- 
tory as "The Union of the Crowns," A.D. 1603. 



210. CHLOROFORM. 



Chloroform is made by distilling proportions of chlo- 
ride of lime, alcohol, and water. The word chloroform 
is made up of chloros (grass-green) and fonnyle, a sub- 
stance named from the Latm formica {anant), because 
it was first found in ants. 

Chloroform was long known to the scientific chemist 
before its power as an anaesthetic or nerve-stupefier was 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 267 

discovered. Dr. Simpson of Edinburgh was the first 
to introduce it into his practice in 1847. 

Dr. Morton, an American physician, was the first to 
put sulphuric ether to this use in 1846. 

The Greeks and Romans used mandragora to annul 
the pain attendant upon surgical operations, and the 
Chinese used hashish for the same purpose ; therefore, 
the administration of narcotic drugs was not unknown 
to the ancients, but they never attained to a knowledge 
of perfect anaesthetics. 



211. TERRIBLE DEATH OF THE LAST OF THE 
KALIPHS. 

The kaliphs were successors of Mohammed, kaliph 
meaning successor. The first kaliph was Abu-beker, 
the father-in-law of Mohammed. This kaliph, when 
dying, offered the sceptre to Omar, who modestly ob- 
served that he had no occasion for the place. " But 
the place has occasion for you," replied Abu-beker, and 
died, praying that the God of Mohammed would ratify 
his choice. Omar commenced his reign A.D. 633 ; and 
nineteen kaliphs of the race of Omar, called Ommiades, 
ruled in succession until 656, after which began the 
dynasty of the Abbassides descended from Abbas, the 
uncle of Mohammed. The second of this race, Al- 
Mansor, built the city of Bagdad, and made it the seat 
of the Saracen Empire in A.D. 762. Bagdad is situ- 
ated on both sides of the river Tigris in Turkey, and 
was built partly from the ruins of the city of Babylon. 

While the kaliphs lived there, it was the city of the 
East (having, in 873, tv/o million inhabitants), and was 
the chief seat of Arabian civilization and learning. 
The later kaliphs, in the decline of the Saracen Em- 



268 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

pire, were not the warlike sovereigns their predecessors 
had been. They thought only of securing their ease 
and pleasure. 

Mastassem, the last of the kaliphs, exceeded all 
others in ostentation and pride. When he appeared in 
public he usually wore a veil, the more effectually to 
attract the respect of the public, whom he considered 
unworthy to look at him. 

On these occasions nothing could exceed the eager- 
ness of the multitude to see him, shown by their crowd- 
ing the streets, and hiring windows and balconies at 
enormous prices. 

When the Tartars, under the leadership of Halaki, 
took Bagdad, A.D. 1258, they ordered, that, as a pun- 
ishment for his pride, Mastassem should be confined in 
a leather bag, with his head exposed to the view of the 
same populace, and dragged through the same streets 
until he expired. 

The opera called " The Kaliph of Bagdad " was writ- 
ten in 1799, by Boieldieu. 



212. "THE FAERIE QUEENE." 

"The Faerie Queene," by Edmund Spenser, is an 
allegorical poem of some length, and is one of the most 
beautiful poems in the English language. 

The purpose of the poem, and what the different 
characters represent, can best be explained in Spenser's 
own words, in a letter to Sir Walter Raleigh : — 

" In that Faery Oueene I meane glory in my generall intention, 
but in my particular I conceive the most excellent and glorious 
person of our soveraine the Queene (Elizabeth), and her kingdome 
in Faeryland. And yet, in some places els, I doe otherwise shadow 
her. For considering she beareth two persons, the one of a most 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 269 

royall Queene or Empresse, the other of a most vertuous and 
beautifull Lady, this latter part in some places I doe expresse in 
Belphoebe, fashioning her name according to her owne excellent 
conceipt of Cynthia (Phoebe and Cynthia being both names of 
Diana). So in the person of Prince Arthure I sette forth magnifi- 
cence in particular, which vertue, for that (according to Aristotle 
and the rest) it is the perfection of all the rest, and conteineth in 
it them all, therefore in the whole course I mention the deedes of 
Arthure applyable to that vertue, which I write of in that booke. 
But of the xii. other vertues, I make xii. other knights the pa- 
trones, for the more variety of the history : Of which these three 
bookes contayn three. 

" The first of the knight of the Red crosse, in whome I expresse 
Holynes : The second of Sir Guyon, in whome I set forthe Tem- 
peraunce : The third of Britomartis, a Lady Knight, in whome I 
picture Chastity. But, because the beginning of the whole worke 
seemeth abrupte and as depending on other antecedents, it needs 
that ye know the occasion of these three knights severall adven- 
tures. For the methode of a Poet historical is not such as of an 
Historiographer. For an Historiographer discourseth of affayres 
orderly as they were donne, accounting as well the times as the 
actions ; but a Poet thrusteth into the middest, even where it most 
concerneth- him, and there recoursing to the thinges forepaste, and 
divining of thinges to come, maketh a pleasing Analysis of all. 

" The beginning therefore of my history, if it were to be told 
by an Historiographer, should be the twelfth booke, which is the 
last ; where I devise that the Faery Oueene kept her Annuall feast 
xii. dayes ; upon which xii. several dayes, the occasions of the xii. 
severall adventures hapned, which, being undertaken by xii. sev- 
erall knights, are in these xii. severall bookes severally handled 
and discoursed. The first was this. In the beginning of the feast, 
there presented him selfe a tall clownishe younge man, who falling 
before the Oueene of Fairies desired a boone (as the manner then 
was) which during that feast she might not refuse, which was that 
hee might have the atchievement of any adventure, which during 
that feaste should happen : that being graunted, hee rested him on 
the floore, unfitte through his rusticity for a better place. 

" Soone after entred a faire Ladye in mourning weedes, riding 
on a white Asse, with a dwarf e behind her leading a warlike steed, 
that bore the Armes of a knight, and his speare in the dwarfe's 



2/0 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

hand. Shee, falling before the Queene of Faeries, complayned 
that her father and mother, an ancient King and Oueene, had bene 
by a huge dragon many years shut up in a brasen Castle, who 
thence suffred them not to yssew ; and therefore besought the 
Faery Oueene to assygne her some one of her knights to take on 
him that exployt. Presently that clownish person, upstarting, 
desired that adventure : Whereat the Oueene much wondering, and 
the Lady much gainesaying, yet he earnestly importuned his desire. 
In the end the Lady told him, that unlesse that armour which she 
brought, would serve him (that is, the armour of a Christian man 
specified by Saint Paul vi. Ephes.) that he could not succeed in that 
enterprise ; which being forthwith put upon him, with dewe furni 
tures thereunto, he seemed the goodliest man in al that company, 
and was well liked of the Lady. And eftesoones taking on him 
knighthood, and mounting on that straunge Courser, he went forth 
with'her on that adventure." 

The first part of " The Faerie Queene " was published 
in 1590, and the second in 1595. 

He had intended twelve books, setting forth the 
twelve moral virtues which should be practised by a 
knight or gentleman : he wrote only six. 

Edmund Spenser, made famous among English poets 
by this one work, was born in London in 1553. He 
was, in point of time, the second great poet of England, 
— Chaucer being the first. Between the death of 
Chaucer and the birth of Spenser, there were one hun- 
dred and fifty years, during which time there was no 
great English poet. 

But little is known of his early life. His friend. Sir 
Philip Sidney, introduced him to Sir Walter Raleigh, 
who brought him to the notice of Queen Elizabeth. 
She gave him an estate in Ireland, and a castle called 
Kilcolman, where he resided for several years. He was 
appointed Sheriff of Cork ; but this office brought him 
into trouble with the Irish people, who did not wish to 
be governed by English rulers. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 2/1 

During an insurrection in 1598 he was compelled to 
flee with his family to England ; and in three months 
after, — January, 1599, — he died in Westminster, aged 
forty-six years. 

Hallam says, " Spenser is still the third name in the 
poetical literature of our country ; and he has not been 
surpassed, except by Dante, in any other." And 
Keble calls him " pre-eminently the sacred poet of his 
country." 



213. A STATUE SIX THOUSAND YEARS OLD. 

Probably the oldest and most remarkable statue in 
the world is one now in the Museum of Antiquities at 
Boolak, Egypt. It is a wooden statue of a man, and is 
supposed to be six thousand years old. 

It was discovered by Mariette Bey, the great French 
Egyptologist, at Memphis, and placed by him in its 
present situation. Nothing is known of its history, and 
it stands as a solitary monument of the handicraft of a 
people who lived and died thousands of years ago. 

Mr. Charles Dudley Warner, in the narrative of his 
travels in the East, thus describes this statue : " This 
image is one metre and ten centimetres high, — a little 
over three feet. It stands erect, holding a staff. The 
figure is full of life ; the pose expresses vigor, action, 
pride ; the head, round in form, indicates intellect. The 
eyes are crystal, in a setting of bronze, giving a startling 
look of life to the glance. It is, no doubt, a portrait. 

" 'There is nothing more striking,' says its discoverer, 
'than this image — in a manner living — of a person 
who has been dead six thousand years.' He must have 
been a man of mark and a citizen of a state well civil- 
ized : this is not the portrait of a barbarian, nor was it 



2/2 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

carved by a rude artist. Few artists, I think, have lived 
since, who could impart more vitality to wood." 

It may be added that it has a suggestion, if not more, 
of the Farnese Hercules. 



214. NUMBER OF VICTIMS OF THE REIGN OF 
TERROR IN FRANCE. 

The Reign of Terror in France terminated with the 
execution of Robespierre, July 29, 1794. It is hard to 
realize the number of victims who perished during this 
terrible time when France was in the hands of a law- 
less mob. 

Sir Archibald Alison, in his " History of Europe," 
says, — 

"Thus terminated the Reign of Terror, — a period fraught with 
greater political instruction than any of equal duration which has 
existed since the beginning of the world. In no former period 
had the efforts of the people so completely triumphed, or the 
higher orders been so thoroughly crushed by the lower. The 
throne had been overturned, the altar destroyed, the aristocracy 
levelled with the du§t : the nobles were in exile, the clergy in cap- 
tivity, the gentry in affliction. A merciless sword, had waved over 
the state, destroying alike the dignity of rank, the splendor of 
talent, and the graces of beauty. All that excelled the laboring 
classes in situation, fortune, or acquirement, had been removed: 
they had triumphed over their oppressors, seized their possessions, 
and risen into their stations. And what was the consequence ? 
The establishment of a more cruel and revolting tyranny than any 
which mankind had yet witnessed, the destruction of all the chari- 
ties and enjoyments of life, the dreadful spectacle of streams of 
blood flowing through every part of France. The earliest friends, 
the warmest advocates, the firmest supporters, of the people, were 
swept off indiscriminately with their bitterest enemies. In the 
unequal struggle, virtue and philanthropy sunk under ambition 
and violence, and society returned into a state of chaos, where all 
the elements of private or public happiness were scattered to the 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 



273 



winds. Such are the results of unchaining the passions of the 
multitude j such the peril of suddenly admitting the light upon a 
benighted people. . . . The extent to which blood was shed in 
France during this melancholy period will hardly be credited by 
future ages. The republican, Prudhomme, whose prepossessions 
led him to any thing rather than an exaggeration of the horrors 
of the popular party, has given the following appalling account of 
the victims of the Revolution : — 



by 



Nobles ..... 

Noble women .... 

Wives of laborers and artisans 

Rehgieuses .... 

Priests . . . . . 

Common persons, not noble 

Guillotined by sentence of the revolutionary 

tribunals 
Women who died from illness produced 

and grief .... 
Women killed in La Vendee 
Children " " " " 
Men slain in La Vendde . 
Victims under Carrier at Nantes 

Children shot 

Children drowned 

Women sh6t 

Women drowned . 

Priests shot . 

Priests drowned . 

Nobles drowned . 

Artisans drowned 
Victims at Lyons 

Total . 



1,278 

7SO 

1,467 

350 

1,13s 

13,623 

18,603 
excitement 



18,603 

3,748 

15,000 

22,000 

900,000 

32,000 



500 

1,500 

264 

500 

300 

460 

1,400 

5,300 



31,000 
1,022,351 



" In this enumeration are not comprehended the massacre at 
Versailles, at the Abbey, the Cannes, or other prisons, on the 2d 
of September, the victims of the Glaciere of Avignon, those shot 
at Toulon and Marseilles, or the persons slain in the little town of 
Bedouin, of which the whole population perished. It is in an espe- 
cial manner remarkable, in this dismal catalogue, how large a pro- 
portion of the victims of the Revolution were persons in the 



2/4 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

middling and lower ranks of life. The priests and nobles guil- 
lotined are only 2,413, while the persons of plebeian origin exceed 
13,000! The nobles and priests put to death at Nantes were only 
2,160; while the infants drowned and shot are 2,000, the women 
764, and the artisans 5,300 ! So rapidly, in revolutionary convul- 
sions, does the career of cruelty reach the lower orders ! and so 
wide-spread is the carnage dealt out to them, compared to that 
which they have sought to inflict on their superiors." 



215. AUTHOR OF "GOD SAVE THE KING." 

The author of the English national anthem, "God 
Save the King" (or Queen), was Dr. Henry Carey, born 
in London about 1696, and died 1743. 

The poem was written in honor of a birthday of 
George II., but it has undergone some changes as re- 
gards the words. The music was composed by Dr. 

John Bull. 

» » « 

216. "LAST OF ROMANS." 

Sir E. B. Lytton's noble romance of " Rienzi " has 
painted in the most attractive and glowing manner the 
life and actions of Nicola Gabrini Rienzi, commonly and 
not inappropriately called "the last of the Roman trib- 
unes." He was born in Rome about '1312. His father 
was an innkeeper, his mother a washerwoman : they, 
however, recognizing the natural abilities of their son, 
gave him a good education ; and he became a fine orator. 
His name — Cola di Rienzi — was but an abbreviation 
of his father's name, Lorenzo. The assassination of his 
brother by a Roman noble, whom he found it impossible 
to bring to punishment, is considered to be the incident 
that determined him to deliver Rome, as soon as he 
was able, from the thraldom of the barons. During the 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 2/5 

first half of the fourteenth century anarchy reigned in 
Rome : the pontifical residence had been removed to 
Avignon, in the South of France, where the popes 
resided from 1309 to 1377. A set of factious and tyran- 
nical nobles, living in fortified castles, had established, 
in their lawlessness, a perfect reign of terror over the 
unhappy citizens, who groaned under the oppression 
that every day became more intolerable. 

In 1343 Rienzi was appointed by the heads of the 
Guelph party, spokesman, or orator, of a deputation sent 
to the papal court at Avignon, to beseech Clement VI. 
to return to Rome in order to release and defend the 
citizens from the tyranny of their oppressors. Here 
he formed a close friendship with Petrarch, who in after- 
years, when Rienzi was condemned to death, interceded 
for him, and saved his life. After his return to Rome, 
he for three years loudly and openly menaced the no- 
bles, who took no steps to crush him, because they 
thought he was insane. At length, after a series of 
animated addresses to the people in the streets and 
in public places, when he thought he could rely upon 
their assistance, he summoned them together on the 
20th of May, 1347; and, surrounded by one hundred 
horsemen and the papal legate, he delivered a magnifi- 
cent discourse, and proposed a series of laws for the 
better government of Rome. These were unanimously 
adopted : the aristocratic senators were driven out of 
the city, and Rienzi was invested with dictatorial power. 
He took the title of "Tribune of liberty, peace, and 
justice." The Pope confirmed the eloquent dictator in 
his authority; and all Italy, for a time, rejoiced in his 
success. 

After one or two unsuccessful attempts of the two 
great factions of the exiled nobles (the Colonna and the 



2y6 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Ursini, or Orsini), who laid aside their mutual animosi- 
ties, to unite against a common foe, the dethronement 
of Rienzi was suddenly accomplished by the Count of 
Minorbino, who entered Rome at the head of one 
hundred and fifty soldiers. For seven years Rienzi 
remained an exile from his native city, wandering 
about from the court of one sovereign to another : he 
was at last made a prisoner by the Emperor Charles 
IV., who sent him as a captive to the papal court at 
Avignon. 

On the accession of Innocent VI. to the pontificate, 
Rienzi was sent to Rome as the representative of the 
court of Avignon, and was hailed with every appearance 
of triumph and rejoicing. But his relations with the 
court of Avignon led the people to regard him with 
suspicion ; and, being unfortunately compelled to levy 
a tax upon them, they were aroused to fury ; and on 
Oct. 8, 1354, they burst into the Capitol, and dragged 
him out, and despatched him with numerous wounds. 
His head was cut off, and his body ignominiously exposed 
to the dogs, and the mutilated remains committed to 
the flames. 

In the first part of his career he was an enthusiast in 
the cause of human rights. He took the style of tribune 
to recall the good old times, " the good estate," when 
the tribunes of the people checked the oppressions of 
the consuls and the caprices of the Senate, With 
power and fame, he became ambitious ; and like Crom- 
well and Napoleon, the "armed soldiers of democracy," 
he coveted a throne, and a prescriptive rule. Of him 
the Roman people might have said, as did Brutus of 
Julius Caesar, "as he was ambitious, we slew him." 

Lord Byron, in his " Childe Harold's Pilgrimage," 
speaks of Rienzi : — 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 2// 

" Then turn we to her latest tribune's name, 
From her ten thousand tyrants turn to thee, 
Redeemer of dark centuries of shame — 
The friend of Petrarch — hope of Italy — 
Rienzi ! last of Romans ! While the tree ^ 

Of freedom's withered trunk puts forth a leaf, 
Even for thy tomb a garland let it be — 
The forum's champion, and the people's chief — 

Her new-born Numa thou — with reign, alas! too brief.** 



217. THE OLDEST ART. 

Pottery is the oldest, the longest, and the most widely 
diffused, of human arts. Its history, if it could be 
recorded, would be as old as the history of man : its 
recorded history begins with the building of Babel. 

The oldest pottery known is Egyptian ; but every 
people, civilized or barbarian, has practised the art in 
one or another form. 

All study in every department of art begins at a 
period not long after the Mosaic deluge. All art-his- 
tory, when traced towards its beginning, is found to 
commence at a time less than five thousand years ago. 
There is no work of human hands, no result of human 
thought, now known, whose date is fixed at more than 
3000 B.C., the earlier dates assigned by some able men 
to the Egyptian monuments of ancient dynasties being 
theoretical. The tombs at Beni Hassan in Egypt, 
which date from about 2000 B.C., contain pictures of 
various Egyptian trades and industries, including a 
pottery, in which appears the potter's wheel in use for 
forming cups. The Egyptians, therefore, made soft pot- 
tery in forms at this early period. They possessed also 
an art which belongs to the class of pottery, though not 
actually the baking qf clay. They carved small articles 



2/8 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

from Steatite, or soapstone, which they covered with a 
vitreous substance, and baked in furnaces, producing 
a resemblance to enamelled pottery. This art was of 
very early origin, and specimens are known bearing the 
names of kings who reigned before 2000 B.C. 

The ceramic art probably went eastward as well as 
westward from the Euphrates valley, but its course 
cannot be traced. Westward, the Phoenicians appear 
to have possessed the art at a period prior to 1500 B.C. 

The best period in the history of pottery was from 
400 to 300 B.C. After the latter date the art declined, 
and before the date of the Roman empire was practi- 
cally abandoned. The Greeks imported into Italy, both 
the splendid works of their potteries and the potters 
themselves, who produced similar fabrics in that country, 
For a long time these works were attributed to the 
Etruscans, but it is now known that the Etruscans 
never excelled in the ceramic art. 

The Saracens possessed a knowledge of pottery as 
early as the eighth century A.D., and it was carried by 
them into Spain. Whether Germany derived knowl 
edge of the art from Saracen sources, it is impossible 
to affirm. But the first work in glazed pottery in Chris- 
tian Europe, of which we have any knowledge, is found 
at Leipsic, where the Convent of St. Paul, finished in 
1207, had a frieze of glazed or enamelled bricks, with 
raised figures of Christ and the apostles. 

The most celebrated specimens of the potter's art 
are found in Henri Deux ware, ox faience d' Oiron, which 
is very rare, and of which only fifty-three specimens are 
known ; Palissy ware, which is of French manufacture 
(q.v.) ; and Wedgwood, which was manufactured by the 
Wedgwood family in England. The importance of 
the ceramic art as an aid to ethnological research is 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 279 

not less than its importance as an aid to the historian, 
because it is frequently the bearer of historical facts, 
inscribed on it in lasting characters. The Babylonian 
and Ninevite libraries were pottery : their books were 
tablets of clay, on which the letters were impressed ; 
and the tablets, being baked, became enduring pages of 
history, that, in the nineteenth century after Christ, 
we find as legible as when printed : and learned men 
of to-day are translating th-em into the modern lan- 
guages. 

The Arab-Moors of the mediseval period excelled in 
beautiful tiling, made into dados and wainscoting, called 
azidejos, of which fine specimens filled with arabesque 
designs are perfectly preserved in the Alhambra of 
Granada. • 



218. THE WHITE HORSE OF BERKSHIRE. 

On the western boundaries of Berkshire, among the 
chalk-hills which form a continuation of the Wiltshire 
Downs, there is a remarkable memorial of by-gone 
times, — the renowned White Horse of Berkshire. The 
colossal representation which bears this name is an 
excavation on the side of a steep green hill two feet 
deep, showing the chalk of which the hill is composed. 
Though rudely cut, the figure, when viewed from the 
vale beneath, is easily recognized as a white horse in 
the act of galloping. Its length is about 374 feet, and 
the space which it occupies is said to be nearly two 
acres. 

The origin of this remarkable figure is involved in 
doubt ; but, according to tradition, it was carved to com- 
memorate the victory of King Ethelred and his brother 
Alfred, afterwards Alfred the Great, over the Danes at 



28o CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Ashdown, in the year 871, The actual site of this 
great battle is not known, and has been a subject of 
much discussion ; but the strongest probability is in favor 
of White-Horse Hill, on the summit of which, at the 
height of 893 feet above the sea, is an ancient encamp- 
ment, consisting of a plain of more than eight acres in 
extent, surrounded by a rampart and ditch. 

Immediately beneath it is the stupendous engraving 
of the White Horse. The preservation of this time- 
honored memorial is due to a ceremony known as "The 
Scouring of the White Horse." 

The inhabitants of the neighboring district assemble 
once every year, and scour or clean out the trench so 
as to renew and preserve the figure of the horse. The 
festival which concludes their labors forms 2. fete of one 
or two days' duration, the rustics being entertained at 
the expense of the landlord. A most interesting and 
graphic description of one of these rural gatherings, 
which took place in September, 1857, is given in "The 
Scouring of the White Horse," from the spirited pen 
of Mr. Thomas Hughes, the author of " Tom Brown's 
School-Days." 

See "Book of Days." 



219. JOHN ZISCA. 

This noted general of Bohemia took up arms in the 
year 1419 against the Emperor Sigismund of Germany, 
to revenge the deaths of John Huss and Jerome of 
Prague, who had been cruelly burned to death for their 
religious tenets. 

His army amounted to forty thousand men, and he 
defeated the emperor in several pitched battles. He 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 28 1 

gave orders that after his death (which occurred in 1424) 
his skin should be made into drum-heads, that he might 
still lead his troops against his enemies. 

His wish was religiously carried out ; and the skin of 
the enthusiastic Zisca long proved fatal to the emperor, 
for he did not recover Bohemia during a space of six- 
teen years. 

The Hussite war, as it was called, was for religious 
liberty, and was the beginning of the great Reforma- 
tion, John Huss having been the first martyr. Huss 
and Jerome of Prague were burnt by order of the Em- 
peror Sigismund, in 141 7. It required a hundred years 
of darkness and doubt, and study and hope, to bring 
about the appearance of Luther at the Diet of Worms. 
Sigismund violated his own safe-conduct as given to 
Huss. Charles V. kept his faith with Luther, but later 
in life regretted that he had. 



220. VICTOR HUGO. 

Without exception, the largest funeral ever seen in 
France was that of Victor Hugo, poet, author, and 
dramatist, who died at Paris, May 22, 1885, and was 
buried in the Pantheon, June i, 1885. 

The number of spectators estimated to have been 
present was placed at one million, of all classes and 
kinds, each striving with the other to pay the greatest 
honor to the dead poet ; while telegrams of condolence 
were sent from all parts of the world. 

At the head of the funeral procession were three 
large wagons filled with floral tributes : among others 
was a beautiful diadem of Irish lilies, with the inscrip- 
tion, "To the World's Greatest Poet," sent by Alfred 
Tennyson, Poet-Laureate of England. 



282 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Victor Hugo was born at Besangon, France, Feb. 26, 
1802, and was the youngest of three sons of Gen. 
Hugo, who served with honor through Napoleon's cam- 
paigns in Italy and Spain, 

At an early age he entered a preparatory school in 
Paris, with a view later on to entering the Polytechnic 
College : he was but fifteen years of age when he 
aspired to the prize offered by the Academy for the 
best poem on the advantages of study ; and the prize 
was withheld, only because the dignitaries of that insti- 
tution took offence at one of the passages in the work, 
which they considered to be presumptuous. Two years 
later he carried off two prizes at the Academy of Floral 
Games; and in 1821 his first volume of lyrical poems 
appeared, which not only confirmed the high regard in 
which many of the most eminent men of France held 
his genius, but also obtained for him a pension of three 
hundred francs from Louis XVHI. 

He married Adele Foucher, a young girl for whom he 
had had a romantic affection from the time he was five 
years of age. 

In 1 84 1 he was received as a member of the French 
Academy, and soon after he was raised to the peerage 
of King Louis Philippe. 

In 1 85 1 Victor Hugo refused the amnesty offered by 
Napoleon III., and went into a voluntary exile for 
nineteen years : it was during this time that his most 
brilliant successes were achieved. 

On the fall of the Empire he hastened back to 
France, and entered heartily into the Republican Gov 
ernment : he was also returned to the National Assem- 
bly at Bordeaux, which he afterward quitted in disgust, 
going to Brussels. 

The Belgian Government, alarmed by his violenV 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 283 

writings and his avowed sympathy with the Com- 
munists, expelled him from the country ; and he sought 
seclusion in Vianden in Luxemburg. He returned to 
Paris in July, 1 87 1, and lived a retired and quiet life 
until his death. 

Among his principal works are the tales " Notre 
Dame de Paris," " Les Miserables,", " Quatre-vingt- 
treize," and "L'Art d'etre Grandpere;" and the plays 
"Hernani," "Ruy Bias," and "Lucrece Borgia," 



221. THE VOCAL MEMNON. 

Probably the most interesting and curious statue of 
antiquity is that known as the "Vocal Memnon," on 
the west bank of the Nile at Thebes, Egypt. 

This statue represents Amenophis III. (about 1500 or 
1600 B.C.), and is the northernmost of two colossal sit- 
ting figures of black stone, forming a part of a row of 
statues leading to the gate of the palace of Amenophis. 

It is fifty feet high without the base, and must have 
stood sixty feet in the air before the soil of the Nile 
covered the desert on which it stands. The pedestal 
is a solid stone, thirty-three feet long, and twelve feet 
high. 

According to tradition, sounds resembling the twang- 
ing of a harp-string, or the striking of brass, were 
heard issuing from this statue every morning at sun- 
rise. On the lower part of the statue are seventy-two 
inscriptions in Greek and Latin, by the Emperor Ha- 
drian, the Empress Sabina, and also by several govern- 
ors of Egypt and other travellers, official and private, 
testifying that they have heard the sound. 

The "Vocal Memnon " was thrown down by an earth- 



284 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

quake, 27 B.C., and lay undisturbed until A.D. 170. In 
the time of Roman occupation, during the reign of 
Septimius Severus, it was set up, and restored from the 
waist by brick-work and blocks of stone ; but it ceased 
to give out sounds. 

One theory advanced as to the sounds emitted by 
the statue was, that they were caused by the action of 
the sun's rays upon the dew that had fallen in the crev- 
ices of the broken figure ; and another was, that a priest 
was concealed in the lap of the figure, and struck a 
metallic stone. 

The Greeks of later ages confounded this statue with 
that of Memnon, the son of Aurora, and one of the 
defenders of Troy ; and they believed that the sound 
was his morning salutation to his mother : hence the 
statue is known as the vocal or singing statue of 
Memnon. 

As this sound was to be heard only as the first rays- 
of the sun touched the statue, hundreds of persons, at 
different times, from all parts of Europe, have assem- 
bled, and lain all night at the base of it, that they might 
observe the phenomenon. Could an investigation be 
made now, since the discovery of converting light into 
sound, the mystery that puzzled the ancients might be 
satisfactorily solved. 



222. THE TENEBR^. 

A religious funeral service in the Church of Rom.e, 
held on Good Friday. 

It consists of, first, a brilliantly lighted church : at a 
signal, the lights are instantly extinguished ; and for 
some time total darkness and silence reign supreme, to 
commemorate the three hours of darkness. When the 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 285 

church is lighted again, very dimly, a coffin is before 
the altar, studded with stars, and surrounded with can- 
dles. The altar is draped in black, and the place where 
the Host is kept is open and empty. 

The funeral service, called the Tenebrse, then begins, 
consisting of penitential psalms, and ending with the 
chanting of the Miserere, or fifty-first psalm. 

The service is very effective, and brings very viv- 
idly to the mind the death of Christ. 

The Pope always presides at this service, in St. 
Peter's, Rome. 



223. ABANDONMENT OF SUNDAY DURING THE 
FRENCH REVOLUTION. 

During the French Revolution royalty was abolished, 
and France declared by the National Convention to be 
a Republic, Sept. 22, 1792. After the Convention had 
accomplished the judicial murder of Louis XVI., Jan. 
21, 1793, the "Reign of Terror" began, under the 
leadership of Danton, Marat, and Robespierre. 

The infamous decree to abandon the Christian reli- 
gion in France, and to substitute for it the worship of 
Liberty, Equality, and Reason, was passed at the insti- 
gation of Gobet, Archbishop of Paris. 

Churches were quickly despoiled of their ornaments, 
and civic feasts substituted for religious festivals. 

The Convention also enacted that time, instead of 
being reckoned from the birth of Christ, should there- 
after be reckoned from the birthday of the French 
Republic, the year to begin anew from that date ; and, 
that the Christian Sabbath might not be observed, 
months were to consist of thirty days each, a day of 
rest being granted only at the close of each decade 



286 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

(ten days). Danton was guillotined ; Marat was assas- 
sinated by Charlotte Corday ; but the " Reign of Ter- 
ror" did not close until the axe of the guillotine fell 
upon the neck of Robespierre, July 28, 1794. 

In 1795 France received a new constitution, the 
third since 1789. The executive power was vested in 
five directors, — hence the name Directory given to 
this period of French government : each director was 
to be in turn president for three months. A re-ac- 
tion had set in, the people awoke as from a hideous 
dream, the laws of Robespierre were repealed, the 
churches were re-opened for Christian worship, and 
the decades of the revolution gave place to the ob- 
servance of Sunday, But the Directory lasted only 
four years (i 795-1799), when the Consulate form of 
government was established, with Napoleon as First 
Consul. This change in the government was accom- 
plished without the interference of the people, and 
was, therefore, not revolutionary. Napoleon was now 
master of France. He made peace with foreign pow- 
ers, and applied himself to the internal government 
of the country. On the i8th of September, 1801, he 
made a treaty with the Pope, called "The Concordat," 
by which the Roman-Catholic religion was formally 
re-established in France, and the liberties of the Gal- 
ilean Church were secured by a series of carefully pre- 
pared provisos. 

We know of no other instance where the observance 
of one day in seven as a holy day, or day of rest, has 
been abandoned since the command for its regular ob- 
servance was given to Moses on Mount Sinai. And it 
is a singular coincidence, that, by keeping this com- 
mand, there is at the present a perpetual Sabbath upon 
the earth, since the Greeks observe Monday ; the 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 28/ 

Persians, Tuesday ; the Assyrians, Wednesday ; the 
Egyptians, Thursday ; the Turks, Friday ; the Jews, 
Saturday ; and the Christians, Sunday. 



224. DANTE'S "INFERNO." 

Dante is called the father of Italian literature : be- 
fore his time the poets of Northern Italy wrote in the 
Provengal language, which was the dialect spoken 
chiefly in Southern France. But Dante wrote in Ital- 
ian, and from his time the Italian became a real lan- 
guage. 

His great work is the "Divine Comedy" ("Divina 
Commedia"), an epic poem consisting of three parts, — 
"LTnferno" ("Hell"), "II Purgatorio" ("Purgatory"), 
and "II Paradiso" ("Paradise"). This poem is an alle- 
gory conceived in the form of a vision, which was the 
most popular style of poetry in that age. As a poem, 
it is of the highest order, and ranks Dante with Homer 
and Milton. The measure is called terza rima, con- 
sisting of three lines (eleven syllables each) so ar- 
ranged that the first and third rhyme together, the 
middle one with the first and third of the succeeding 
triplet. The whole work includes one hundred cantos. 

The poem was written during the nineteen years 
that Dante was an exile from his native city, Florence, 
under penalty of being burned alive should he ever 
return. 

In the year 1300 Dante supposes himself to be wan- 
dering near Jerusalem, and to be favored with means 
of access to the realms of shadows. He is met by Vir- 
gil, who offers to conduct him safely through hell and 
purgatory; while Beatrice, his "loved one," will con- 



288 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

duct him through paradise. During these visitations 
he meets and talks with those who have been best 
known for good or evil on the earth, especially in Flor- 
ence. The allegory has been thus explained : — 

Dante is first represented as wandering in a wood 
(this life) : he comes to a mountain (fame), and begins 
to climb -it. First a panther (pleasure), then a lion (am- 
bition), and then a she-wolf (avarice), stand in his path 
to stay him. The appearance of Virgil (human wis- 
dom) encourages him by telling the poet he has been 
sent by three ladies, Beatrice (faith), Lucia (grace), and 
Mercy, to conduct him through the realms of hell 
(Canto II.). They soon reach a gateway, the gate of 
hell, over which they find inscribed, " Who enters here 
leaves hope behind." They pass through, and reach 
the realm of " the praiseless and the blameless dead," — 
the spirits of those not good enough for heaven, not 
bad enough for hell. 

Charon (the old man in Greek mythology, whose 
duty it was to ferry the souls of the deceased across the 
river of death, — Styx, or Acheron, — and for which he 
always received a small coin, which was placed in the 
mouth of the dead) ferries them across the Acheron to 
Limbo (Canto III.). Here they meet the spirits of 
the unbaptized, " blameless of sin," but not members 
of the Christian Church. Homer, Horace, Ovid, Luc- 
can, are here, and enroll Dante "sixth of the sacred 
band," — Virgil being the fifth. 

On leaving Limbo he passes with his guide through 
the seven gates which lead to the inferno, — an enor- 
mous, funnel-shaped pit, divided into stages. In the 
outer or first circle is a vast meadow, in which roam 
Electra (mother of Dardanus, founder of Troy) ; Hector 
(one of the most valiant of the Trojan chiefs who fought 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 289 

against the Greeks at the siege of Troy) ; ^Eneas, a Tro- 
jan prince, who, when the city was in flames, carried 
his aged father, Anchises, away on his shoulders, lead- 
ing his son, his wife following them ; and Julius Caesar, 
the greatest Roman ; Camilla and Penthesilea (a queen 
of the Amazons) ; Latinus and Junius Brutus, Lucretia, 
Marcia (Cato's wife), Julia (Pompey's wife), and Cor- 
nelia (mother of the Gracchi) ; and here, "apart re- 
tired," they see Saladin, the rival of Richard the Lion- 
heart ; Linos and Orpheus ; Aristotle, Socrates, and 
Plato ; Democritos, who ascribed creation to blind 
chance ; Diogenes the cynic ; Heraclitos, Empedocles, 
Anaxagoras, Thales, Dioscorides, and Zeno, Cicero and 
Seneca, Euclid and Ptolemy, Hippocrates and Galen, 
Avincen, and Averroes, the Arabian translator and 
commentator of Aristotle (Canto IV.). 

From the first circle they pass to the second, where 
Minos sits in judgment of those brought before him. 
He indicates what circle each is to occupy, by a twist 
of his tail around his body ; one twist meaning first 
circle, two means second, and so on. Here, says the 
poet, is the hell of carnal and sinful love. Dante 
recognizes Semiramis, Dido, Cleopatra, and Helen ; 
Achilles, Paris, Tristan and Lancelot (Canto V.). 

The third is a circle of still deeper woe. Here fall 
in ceaseless showers, hail, black rain, and sleety flaw : 
the air is cold, and a foul stench rises from the soil. 
Cerberus, the watch-dog with three heads, is here to 
prevent the living from entering, and the dead from 
.escaping : this part of the inferno is set apart for glut- 
tons. They pass to the fourth circle, presided over by 
Plutus, the god of riches, a realm which " hems in all 
the woe of all the universe." Here are gathered the 
50uls of the avaricious who wasted their talents, or 



290 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

made no right use of their wealth (Canto VI.), Cross- 
ing this, they come to the "fifth steep," and see the 
Stygian lake of inky hue. This circle is a huge bog 
in which " the miry tribe " flounder, and " gulp the 
muddy lees.*' It is the abode of those who put no 
restraint upon their anger (Canto VII.). 

Then comes the city of Dis, where the souls of here- 
tics are "interred in vaults" (Cantos VIII. and IX.). 
Here Dante recognizes Farinata (a leader of the Ghibel- 
line faction), and is informed that the Emperor Freder- 
ick II. and Cardinal Ubaldim are among the number 
(Canto X.). 

The city of Dis contains the next three circles 
(Canto XL), through which Nessus, a celebrated Cen- 
taur, conducts them ; and here they see the Minotaur 
and the Centaurs, The first circle of Dis (the sixth) 
is for those who, by force or fraud, have done violence 
to man, as Alexander the Great, Dionysius of Syracuse, 
Attila the Hun, Sextus and Pyrrhus (Canto XII.). 
The next (the seventh circle) is for those who have 
done violence to themselves, as suicides : here are the 
Harpies, and here the souls are transformed to trees 
(Canto XIIL). The eighth circle is for the souls of 
those who have done violence to God, as blasphemers 
and heretics : it is a hell of burning, where it snows 
flakes of fire; here Dante held converse with Brunetto, 
his old schoolmaster (Cantos XIV. and XV.). 

Having reached the confines of the realms of Dis, 
the monster Geyron — "that image vile of Fraud ap- 
peared" — carries Dante and his guide across a deep 
chasm into the region of Malebolge, the eighth circle of 
inferno, which contains ten bolgi, or pits (Canto XVII.). 
In the first is Jason ; the second is for harlots (Canto 
XVIII.) ; in the third is Simon Magus, "who prosti- 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 29 1 

tuted the things of God for gold;" in the fourth, Pope 
Nicholas III. (Canto XIX.) ; in the fifth, the heads of 
the ghosts were reversed ; and here were Amphiaraiis, 
famous for his knowledge of futurity ; and Tiresias, a 
celebrated prophet of Thebes ; Michael Scott the magi- 
cian, with all witches and diviners (Canto XX.) ; in the 
sixth, Caiaphas, and Annas his father-in-law (Canto 
XXIII.) ; in the seventh, robbers of churches, as Vanni 
Fucci, who robbed the Sacristy of St. James in Pistoia, 
and charged Vannidella Nona with the crime, for which 
she suffered death (Canto XXIV.) ; in the eighth, 
Ulysses and Diomed, who were punished for the strata- 
gem of the wooden horse at the siege of Troy (Cantos 
XXVI. and XXVII.) ; in the ninth, Mahomet and Ali, 
false prophets "horribly mangled" (Canto XXVIII.) ; 
in the tenth, alchemists (Canto XXIX.) ; coiners and 
forgers ; Potiphar's wife ; Simon the Greek, who deluded 
the Trojans (Canto XXX.) ; Nimrod, Ephialtes, and 
Antaeus, with other giants (Canto XXXI.). Antaeus 
carries the two visitors into the nethermost hell, where 
Judas and Lucifer are confined. It is a region of thick, 
ribbed ice ; and here they see the frozen river Cocytus 
(Canto XXXIL). 

The last persons the poet sees are Brutus and Cas- 
sius, the murderers of Julius Caesar (Canto XXXIV.). 
Dante and Virgil then make their exit on the southern 
hemisphere. This is done that the poet may visit pur- 
gatory, which is imagined by Dante to be a mountain 
rising from mid-ocean, on the top of which lies paradise. 
(This synopsis is taken chiefly from " The Readers* 
Handbook : " Brewer.) 



292 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

225. THE GOLDEN ROSE. 

The institution of the Golden Rose dates from the 
year 1049, under the pontificate of Leo IX. This 
Pope, wishing to establish his right of patronage over 
the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Alsace, exacted 
from it every year a golden rose. This custom still 
exists, and the rose is blessed by the Pope on the fourth 
Sunday in Lent. Formerly, in the solemn papal pro- 
cession of the day, the Pope carried it in his left hand, 
while with his right he blessed the people. 

It is usually presented to the individual or the city 
which, during the year, has best deserved the favors of 
the. Holy See. 

The rose weighs two ounces, and was formerly col- 
ored red to signify the blood of the Redeemer shed for 
his people. It is now made only in pale gold. 

The gold, as the noblest of metals, is intended to 
represent Christ ; and the fragrance of the rose refers 
to his resurrection. 

The Republic of Venice, which was the birthplace 
of sev.eral popes, possessed five of these roses in the 
treasury of St. Mark's Church ; but during the wars 
they were lost or stolen. 



226. THE ROCK OF REFUGE. 

In Hawaii, one of the Sandwich Islands, there is a 
large, flat rock, called the " Rock of Refuge." 

If a criminal reaches this rock before capture, he is 
safe as long as he remains there. 

Usually his family supply him with food until he can 
make his escape, but he is never allowed to return to 
his tribe. 



, CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 293 

227. THE FOUNDATION OF VENICE. 

The city of Venice, founded in A.D. 421, owes its 
origin to a panic produced by the invasion of Italy by 
Attila the Hun, called the " Sword of Mars." 

Many inhabitants of the cities bordering on the 
Adriatic jfled before the barbarians to the islands in the 
Lagoon : these islands, seventy-two in number, united 
in time by four hundred bridges, became the city and 
state of Venice. 

For eleven hundred years the colony thus formed 
was governed by a series of dukes, or doges. The order 
of doges lasted from 697 to 1797 : previous to this the 
government had been for three hundred years repub- 
lican in form. 

For four hundred years Venice was the finest city in 
Europe. Its glory began with the Crusades in the 
twelfth century. Her position, favorable to commerce, 
led to ship-building ; and the hire of these ships filled 
her coffers with gold. She became a great mart of 
commerce and traffic. Venetian ships transported the 
Crusaders to the Holy Land, and brought back the 
spices and jewels of the East, and the spoils of con- 
quered cities. 

The manufacturers of Venice soon became famous, 
and the silk and glass of Venice were unrivalled. The 
commerce of Venice, which had been the well-spring 
of prosperity, began to decline after Vasco de Gama's 
discovery, in 1497, of an ocean route to India. 

In 1508 the League of Cambray (q.v.) was formed 
against the island city by the Pope, the Emperor of 
Germany, and the kings of France and Spain ; and 
Venice suffered a defeat from which she never recov- 
ered. In 1796 Napoleon issued a declaration to the 



294 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

effect that the Venetian Republic had ceased to exist. 
In 1866 Venice was finally annexed to the kingdom of 
Italy. 

Venice has added to art, science, and literature many 
notable names. We can never be ungrateful to the 
city which has given to the world a Titian, a Bellini, 
and a Tintoretto, a Marco Polo and a Friar Paul, an 
Aldus Manutius, a Goldini, and a Canova. No city in 
the world has so inspired the poet's muse. Read in 
this connection Byron's " Ode to Venice," also Canto 
IV. in "Childe Harold," Rogers's "Brides of Venice," 
Shakspeare's "Rialto," Ruskin's "Stones of Venice," 
and for full information, Adam's " Queen of the Adri- 
atic, or, Venice Past and Present." In this book, see 
"Customs of Ancient Venice." 



228. SOME AMERICAN LITERARY PSEUDONYMES. 

"H. H.," Helen Hunt Jackson. 
" Ik Marvel," Donald Grant Mitchell. 
"Pansy," Mrs. Isabella Alden. 
" Sophie May," Rebecca S. Clarke. 
"Cousin Alice," or "Alice E. Lee," Mrs. Alice 
(Bradley) Haven. 

" George Fleming," Julia Constance Fletcher. 

" Margaret Sidney," Mrs. H. M. Lothrop. 

" Col. Ingham," Edward Everett Hale. 

"Fanny Forrester," Mrs. Emily (Chubbuck).Judson. 

"Frank Forrester," Henry William Herbert. 

" Francis Forrester," Daniel Wise. 

"Fanny Fern," Mrs. Sarah Payson (Willis) Parton. 

"Jennie June," Mrs. Jennie C. Croly. 

" Peter Parley," Samuel Griswold Goodrich. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 2g$ 

"Timothy Titcomb," Josiah Gilbert Holland. 

"Elizabeth Wetherell," Susan Warner, 

" Florence Percy," Mrs. Elizabeth (Akers). Allen. 

"Martha Farquherson," Martha Finley. 

" Marian Harland," Mrs. Mary Virginia (Hawes) 
Terhune. 

"Gail Hamilton," Mary Abigail Dodge. 

"Howard Glyndon," Mrs. Laura C. (Redden) Searing. 

" Porte Crayon," David Hunter Strother, 

"Petroleum V. Nasby," David Ross Locke. 

"Warrington," William S. Robinson. 

" Mrs. Partington," Benjamin P. Shillaber, 

" Stella," Mrs. Estelle Anna (Robinson) Lewis. 

" Grace Greenwood," Mrs. Sara J. Lippiricott. 

"Virginia Champlin," Miss Grace V. "Lord. 

Constance Fenimore Woolson has written some beau- 
tiful American stories under her own name. She is a 
worthy descendant of Fenimore Cooper of Coopers- 
town, N.Y., and resides in Cleveland, O. 



229. EARLY MADONNAS. 

Madonna is an Italian word, signifying " My lady," 
and is specially applied to the Virgin Mary. 

Representations of the mother of Christ made their 
appearance in the fifth century. 

At first the lineaments were copied from the pictures 
of Christ, according to tradition, which declared that 
the Saviour resem.bled his mother. 

Among the earliest of these representations is the 
Madonna by Guido da Siena, dated 131 1, in the Church 
of St. Dominic, Siena. 

It must be remembered that the names applied to the 



296 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Madonna pictures are of modern invention, for the pur- 
pose of distinguishing them one from the other. 

The earliest Madonnas were representations of the 
mother without the Child ; it was only after the Nes- 
torian heresy, in 431, that the Child was added. 

In some of them, St. John the Baptist, a near rela- 
tive and forerunner of Christ, appears also as a child. 

Raphael painted fifty Madonnas : one of the most 
celebrated is his representation of the Madonna en- 
throned as the Queen of Heaven surrounded by angels. 
It is now in the Vatican. 

Another is the Madonna del Pesce (of the fish), in 
the- Madrid Museum ; but most celebrated of all is the 
Sistine Madonna, painted in 15 15 for the Church of 
San Sisto in Piacenza, at present the masterpiece of the 
Dresden gallery, (q.v.) 

When Murillo was painting in a convent in Spain, he 
thoughtlessly promised one of the serving-brothers to 
paint him a picture. Being importuned to redeem his 
promise, he made many excuses : the last was that he 
had no canvas. "Paint it upon this," said the monk, 
spreading out his napkin. This was done ; and now, in 
the gallery at Seville, is " La Madonna de la Servilleta" 
(" The Madonna of the Napkin "). 



230. THE ORIGIN OF THIMBLES. 

It is said that thimbles (which are claimed as a Dutch 
invention) have been found at Herculaneum. 

The etymology of thimble is from thumb-bell ; as it 
was formerly worn, like sailors' thimbles, on the thumb. 

The Germans call the thimhlt finge7'-hut (finger-hat). 

A silver thimble is a very small thing; yet it takes 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 297 

more than twenty men, besides a great deal of costly 
machinery, to make one. 

The manufacture of thimbles was introduced into 
England from Holland, in 1695, by John Softing. 



231. THE MOORS. 

In the Middle Ages, all the Mohammedans were 
called Moors ; but, more strictly speaking, the Moors, 
or Mauri, were natives of that part of Northern Africa 
called Mauritania. 

After the Saracens had conquered Northern Africa, 
they invaded Spain through Mauritania (711), conquer- 
ing the whole country except two districts in the North. 
All the conquered people were compelled to embrace 
the Mohammedan religion, though the Christians took, 
every opportunity to resist the invaders. 

Cordova, a magnificent city, became the Moorish cap- 
ital, and a great seat of learning ; and, while the greater 
part of Europe was sunk in barbarism, the arts and 
sciences flourished among the Mohammedan Arabs and 
Moors of Spain. 

The Moorish kingdom lasted from the middle of 
the eighth century to the beginning of the sixteenth 
century. 

The Christians became more and more powerful, and 
skirmishes more and more frequent ; but the Moors 
continued to be the ruling power until the accession of 
Ferdinand and Isabella, when the last stronghold of the 
Moors (Grenada) was taken from them in 1492. 

Such as would not embrace the Christian religion 
were then expelled from Spain, but the final expulsion 
of the whole race did not take place until the accession 



298 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

of Philip III. (1598), He instituted a persecution of 
the Moors, which ended by his driving six hundred 
thousand Moors from Spain in 1609. 

As they were a very industrious people, they were a 
great loss to the nation, and Spain has never recovered 
her prestige. 

A " History of the Conquest of Spain by the Arab; 

Moors," with a sketch of the civilization which they 

achieved, and imparted to Europe, by Dr. Henry Coppee 

of Lehigh University, is the best book to read upon 

this subject. 

« • « 

232. THE WANDERING JEW. 

The legends of the Wandering Jew are numerous 
and varied ; but the germs out of which they have all 
been developed are the words of the gospel, " Verily 
I say unto you. There be some standing here, which 
shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man 
coming in His kingdom " (Matt. xvi. 28 ; Mark ix. i). 

One of these has been conjectured to be the disciple 
John, of whom Christ said to Peter, on another occa- 
sion, " If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that 
to thee.-*" and others, as Elias, Enoch, and our Jew, 
have been named as among the number of those who 
should not die until He came again. The earliest rnen- 
tion of the Wandering Jew is to be found in the book 
of the chronicles of the Abbey of St. Alban's, which 
was copied by Matthew Paris. 

He records that in the year 1228 — 

" A certain archbishop of Armenia Major came on a pilgrimage 
to England, to see the relics of the saints, and visit the sacred 
places in the kingdom, as he had done in others : he also produced 
letters of recommendation from his Holiness the Pope, to the 
religious men and prelates of the churches, in which they were 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 2C^ 

enjoined to receive and entertain him with due reverence and 
honor. On his arrival he went to St. Alban's, where he was re- 
ceived with all respect by the abbot and monks: at this place, 
being fatigued with his journey, he remained some days, to rest 
himself and his followers ; and a conversation was commenced 
between him and the inhabitants of the convent, by means of their 
interpreters, during which he made many inquiries concerning the 
religion and religious observances of this country, and related 
many strange things concerning Eastern countries. 

" In the course of conversation, he was asked whether he had 
ever seen or heard any thing of Joseph, a man of whom there was 
much talk in the world, who, when our Lord suffered, was present, 
and spoke to Him, and who is still alive, in evidence of the Chris- 
tian faith : in reply to which, a knight in his retinue, who was his 
interpreter, replied, speaking in French, ' My lord well knows that 
man ; and a little before he took his way to the Western countries, 
the said Joseph ate at the table of my lord the archbishop in 
Armenia; and he had often seen, and held converse with, him.' He 
was then asked about what had passed between Christ and the 
same Joseph, to which he rephed, ' At the time of the suffering 
of Jesus Christ, He was seized by the Jews, and led into the hall 
of judgment before Pilate, the governor, that He might be judged 
by him on the accusation of the Jews ; and Pilate, finding no 
cause for adjudging Him to death, said to them, " Take Him, and 
judge Him according to your law : " the shouts of the Jews, how- 
ever, increasing, he, at their request, released unto them Barabbas, 
and delivered Jesus to them to be crucified. When, therefore, 
the Jews were dragging Jesus forth, and had reached the door, 
Cartaphilus, a porter of the hall, in Pilate's service, as Jesus was 
going out of the door, impiously struck Him on the back with his 
hand, and said in mockery, " Go quicker, Jesus, go quicker : why 
do you loiter ? " and Jesus, looking back on him with a severe 
countenance, said to him, " I am going, and you will wait till I 
return." And, according as our Lord said, this Cartaphilus is still 
awaiting His return. At the time of our Lord's suffering he was 
thirty years old, and when he attains the age of a hundred years 
he always returns to the same age as he was when our Lord suf- 
fered. After Christ's death, when the Cathohc faith gained ground, 
this Cartaphilus was baptized by Ananias (who also baptized the 
apostle Paul), and was called Joseph. He often dwells in both 



300 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

divisions of Armenia, and other Eastern countries, passing his 
time amidst the bishops and other prelates of the Church : he is 
a man of holy conversation, and religious ; a man of few words, 
and circumspect in his behavior ; for he does not speak at all, 
unless when questioned by the bishops and religious men ; and 
then he tells of the events of old times, and of the events which 
occurred at the suffering and resurrection of our Lord, and of the 
witnesses of the resurrection, namely, those who rose with Christ, 
and went into the holy city, and appeared unto men. He tells of 
the creed of the apostles, and of their separation and preaching. 
And all this he relates without smiling, or levity of conversation, 
as one who is well practised in sorrow and the fear of God, always 
looking forward with fear to the coming of Jesus Christ, lest at 
the last Judgment he should find Him in anger, whom, when on 
His way to death, he had provoked to just vengeance. Numbers 
came to him from different parts of the world, enjoying his society 
and conversation ; and to them, if they are men of authority, he 
explains all doubts on the matters on which he is questioned. He 
refuses all gifts tliat are offered to him, being content with slight 
food and clothing. He places his hope of salvation on the fact 
that he sinned through ignorance ; for the Lord, when suffering, 
prayed for His enemies in these words: 'Father, forgive them, for 
they know not what they do.' " 

Three centuries later, 1547, the "same version of the 
legend appeared in Germany, with only the name Car- 
taphilus changed to Ahasuerus. In 1575 he appeared 
in Spain, and was vouched for by persons in high 
authority. In 1599 he was seen at Vienna: in 1601 
this Ahasuerus was at Lubeck, also in the same year 
was seen in Revel in Livonia, and in Cracow in Poland. 
In Moscow he was seen and spoken to by many per- 
sons. In 1604 he appeared in Paris; in 1633 he was 
again in Hamburg; in 1640, in Brussels; in 1642 
he is reported to have visited Leipzig. On the 22d 
of July, 1 72 1, he appeared at the gates of the city of 
Munich. Some impostors, claiming to be the mysteri- 
ous Wandering Jew, appeared in England as late as 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 3OI 

1 81 8, 1824, 1830. But the last appearance of such a 
personage as seemed to have some claim upon the 
credulity of the people was in 1774, when he passed 
through Brussels into Brabant. 

Gustave Dore, in his wonderful illustrations of the 
Wandering Jew, has, perhaps, done more than chroni- 
cler or poet to foster the belief that it is not impossi- 
ble with God to preserve a living witness upon the 
earth of His death and resurrection until His coming 
again. 

At any rate, it is impossible to linger over those 
noble woodcuts, and fail to learn something new each 
time : they are picture-poems, which only a master-hand, 
guided by a master-mind, could develop and execute. 



233. THE PROPHETS AND SIBYLS OF THE SISTINE 
CHAPEL. 

The Sibyls, according to the legends, stand, in the 
Middle Ages, next in importance to the prophets of 
the Old Testament, It was their office to foretell the 
coming of Christ to the heathen, as it was that of 
the prophets to announce him to the Jews. 

The Sibyls are alluded to by Greek, Roman, and Jew- 
ish writers, and by many of the Christian Fathers. The 
undisputed authority of the Sibylline books among the 
pagans, soon suggested the pious fraud of interpolating 
them. 

The direct allusions to the Messiah, which they con- 
tain, are supposed to have been inserted in the second 
century. 

Notwithstanding their doubtful authenticity, they 
continued to be held in veneration, not only through 
the Middle Ages, but until a comparatively modern 



302 CURIOUS QUESTION'S. 

date. Sibyls were represented in connection with 
Scripture subjects, even after Michael Angelo's day. 

St. Augustine speaks of the Erythraean Sibyl's testi- 
mony immediately before he adverts to the prophets 
of the Old Testament. 

" Sibyllists " was a name of reproach given to early 
Christians ; because, in their disputes with Pagans, 
they quoted the authority of their own prophetess 
against them. 

The Sistine Sibyls are, the Delphic, the Erythraean, 
the Persian, the Cumaean, the Libyan. 

DIES IKM. 

" Dies irje, dies ilia, 
Solvet sasclum in favilla, 
Teste David cum sibylla.^'' 



234. THE GREAT BED OF WARE. 

In Shakspeare's "Twelfth Night," Act. Ill, Scene 
2, Sir Toby Belch wickedly urges Sir Andrew Ague- 
cheek to pen a challenge to his supposed rival, and to 
put into it "as many lies as will lie in thy sheet of 
paper, although the sheet were big enough for the bed 
of Ware in England." The enormous bed alluded to 
was a wonder in the age of Shakspeare, and still exists 
in Ware. 

It is seven feet six inches high, and ten feet nine 
inches square ; so that twelve people can lie comfort- 
ably in it. 

It is very elegantly carved, and is a magnificent 
specimen of antique furniture, though not older than 
the reign of Elizabeth. 

It has been visited by multitudes of travellers ; and 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 303 

it is customary for a company, on seeing the bed, to 
drink from a can of beer a toast appropriate to it. In 
the same room with the bed, there hung a pair of horns, 
upon which all strangers were sworn, as at Highgate. 



235. CRGE3US, KING OF LYDIA. 

Croesus, King of Lydia, Asia Minor, came to the 
throne about 562 B.C. He is the richest man men- 
tioned in history. His landed estate has been esti- 
mated at $8,333,330. His wealth has been variously 
accounted for. The capital of his kingdom was Sardis, 
on the river Pactolus, about forty-five miles from 
Smyrna. To this river, which brought considerable 
quantities of gold in its sand, is ascribed the abundant 
treasures belonging to Croesus and his predecessors ; 
but Croesus possessed, besides, other mines, near Per- 
gamus ; and still another source of his wealth is to be 
found in the general industry of the Lydian people. 

They were the first (according to Herodotus) to carry 
on retail trade, and the first to coin money of gold and 
silver. 

Croesus was also a great conqueror, and at one time 
ruled over thirteen nations. He built a magnificent 
palace in Sardis, and otherwise adorned his capital. 
He used to invite great men to his palace, and give 
them royal entertainment. Among the number was 
yEsop, a Greek writer of fables, born about 620 B.C., 
whom he invited to live at his court. Croesus sent him 
at one time to Delphi, to consult the oracle there ; and 
it is said that the Delphians, getting angry at his mak- 
ing fun of them, put him to death by throwing him 
from a high rock. 



304 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Solon, an Athenian law-giver, born about 638 B.C., 
and one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece, also vis- 
ited Croesus at Sardis. After showing him his treas- 
ures, he asked Solon whom he thought was the happiest 
man in the world, expecting to hear himself named. 
"The man whom Heaven smiles upon to the last," said 
Solon. 

This, Croesus considered as a rebuff, and neglected 
Solon. 

Not long after, Cyrus, King of Persia, made war 
upon Lydia, and took Sardis by storm (548 B.C.). 
Croesus was taken prisoner, and condemned to be 
burned alive. When the pile was about to be lighted, 
Croesus cried out, " Solon ! Solon ! Solon ! " Cyrus 
asked what he meant, and, when he was told, ordered 
Croesus to be set at liberty ; and he made him his 
friend and adviser the rest of his life, allowing him to 
retain the title of king. 

In the time of Christ, Sardis was destroyed by a 
terrible earthquake. It was afterwards rebuilt by the 
Romans. In 1402 Sardis was almost entirely destroyed 
again by Timour. 

Remains of the palace of Croesus, and of other rich 
buildings, can still be seen there. 



236. SONGS OF THE GONDOLIERS OF VENICE. 

For more than two hundred years the gondoliers of 
Venice sang no other songs than strophes from Tasso's 
immortal epic, "Jerusalem Delivered." This poem com- 
memorates the delivery of Jerusalem from the Sara- 
cens; and the hero of the poem is Godfrey de Bouillon 
(1060-1100), the first Christian king of Jerusalem. 

Torquato Tasso, the author of "Jerusalem Deliv- 




PETER PAUL REUBENS 



Cnrious Oucsiioiis. Vol. I.. page 30$. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 305 

ered," was born at Sorrento, in 1544. Venice cannot, 
therefore, claim him as her son ; but he has always 
been the favorite poet of the Venetians, and is still 
read and studied in the city of the Adriatic. 

Tasso became melancholy, and was for seven years 
confined by the duke, Alfonso, in an insane-asylum. 
When released, he went to Naples. Pope Clement 
VIII. invited him to Rome, to receive the laurel-crown 
of poet ; but he died before the ceremony took place, 
April, 1595, and was buried on the very day on which 
he was to have been crowned. 



237. PETER PAUL RUBENS. 

John Lothrop Motley, author of the " Dutch Repub- 
lic," writes, in a letter from Brussels, 1853, quoted by 
Oliver Wendell Holmes, in his Memoirs of Motley, — 

"There are a few good Rubenses here, but the great wealth of 
that master is in Antwerp. The great picture of the ' Descent 
from the Cross ' is free again, after having been ten years in the 
repairing-room. 

" It has come out in good condition. What a picture ! It 
seems to me as if I had really stood at the cross, and had seen 
Mary weeping on John's shoulder, and Magdalen receiving the 
dead body of the Saviour in her arms. Never was the grand 
tragedy represented in so profound and dramatic a manner. For 
it is not only in his color, in which this man so easily surpasses all 
the world, but in his life-like, flesh-and-blood action, — the tragic 
power of his composition. . . . Well might Guido exclaim, ' The 
fellow mixes blood with his colors !'...! defy any one of the 
average amount of imagination and sentiment, to stand long before 
the ' Descent from the Cross ' without being moved more nearly 
to tears than he would care to acknowledge." 

This is high praise, both for the master and his mas- 
terpiece ; but this is only one of eighteen hundred 



306 ' CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

finished paintings by Rubens. His gorgeous coloring 
has always been the chief cliaracteristic of his school. 
There are twelve hundred engravings of his works. 
His two most famous pictures, the " Raising of the 
Cross " and the " Descent from the Cross," are in the 
Antwerp Cathedral ; and many of his choice works are 
in the academy of the same town. 

This famous painter was born at Cologne, Germany, 
June 29, 1577, and died at Antwerp, May 30, 1640. 
Liibke says of him, — 

" He was one of the most brilliant, accomplished, and versatile 
geniuses in the whole history of art. . . . Soon the fame of his 
great ability spread all over the world ; and the courts of Spain, 
France, and England heaped commissions and honors upon him." 

In 1620 Marie de' Medici invited him to France, and 
he executed many great works for her. In the Louvre 
are twenty-one paintings, representing, allegorically, the 
history of Marie de' Medici. He also painted some 
brilliant genre pictures (q.v.), such as the "Peasant's 
Dance " in the Louvre. 

The most of his paintings are large, and crowded 
with figures. Some of them are of colossal size, and 
may be seen in the various churches of his country, 
and in nearly all the galleries and museums of Europe. 
Liibke says, again, — 

" Besides all this, Rubens was an architect ; and, in addition to 
all these occupations as an artist, he was a - man prominent in the 
higher social life of his day, — the associate of princes and diplo- 
mates, — and often, even, as has been said before, intrusted with 
political missions to foreign courts. Thus, in him, more than in 
any other contemporary master, do we find united all the richness 
and splendor of the hfe of that brilliant age." 

He was named Peter Paul, because his birthday was 
the feast of Saints Peter and Paul. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 307 

238. PENELOPE'S WEB. 

Perhaps no story in Greek history brings out in as 
strong rehef the devotion of a woman's heart as the 
story of Penelope. 

When Menelaus, King of Sparta, called upon the 
Greek heroes to remember their vow to stand by him, 
and punish any one who might attempt to deprive him 
of his beautiful wife Helen, whom Paris had now carried 
away to Troy, they all responded to the call but Ulysses, 
King of Ithaca. He could not make up his mind to 
leave his own fair young wife, and son Telemachus, 
and enter upon a war which he knew would be long and 
severe. He feigned madness, but was detected in it, 
and forced at last to join in the expedition against 
Troy. 

During the twenty years that Ulysses was absent, — 
ten spent in the siege of Troy, and ten returning, — 
Penelope was overwhelmed with suitors, who declared 
that Ulysses was dead, and that she must choose one 
among them as her husband. But with true devotion, 
cherishing the hope that Ulysses would yet return, she 
put off her numerous suitors, on the pretext that she 
must first finish the winding-sheet she was making for 
her father-in-law Laertes. In order to extend the time, 
she unravelled by night all she had woven durmg the 
day. Thus, a seemingly endless task is said to be. 
"like Penelope's web." Her faithfulness was rewarded, 
at the end of twenty years, by the return of Ulysses. 

The story of Ulysses' wanderings, temptations, and 
hardships, is the subject of the grand Greek epic of 
Homer, called the " Odyssey," from his right Greek 
name, " Odysseus." 



308 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

239. PERFIDIOUS ALBION. 

After the battle of Waterloo, which closed the last 
great European war, Napoleon fied to the coast, intend- 
ing to take refuge in the United States ; but, finding it 
impossible to evade the British cruisers, he determined 
to throw himself upon the generosity of the British 
nation. 

On the 14th of July he despatched an officer to the 
Prince Regent of England, — afterwards George IV., — 
announcing, that, his political career having come to an 
end, he came, like Themistocles of old, to throw him- 
self upon the hospitality of the British nation, and to 
claim the protection of her arms. He then embarked 
in the English ship-of-war " Bellerophon," with his suite, 
and sailed for England. He was not, however, allowed 
to land, and, being kept in suspense on board ship for 
several weeks, was finally exiled to St. Helena. 

When transferred to the ship " Northumberland," 
which was to convey him, with a few faithful friends, 
to St. Helena, he exclaimed, as the shores of England 
receded, " Perfidious Albion ! " (Albion the ancient name 
of England). 

After six years' imprisonment, on the 5th of May, 
1 82 1, Napoleon died at St. Helena, of cancer of the 
stomach, aged fifty-one years. 

In 1840, a quarrel between England and France being 
settled, Great Britain agreed, as a peace-offering, that 
the remains of the Emperor Napoleon should be removed 
from St. Helena to France. 

By order of King Louis Philippe, they were conveyed 
to Paris, and interred in the chapel of L'Hotel des 
Invalides, with imposing ceremonies, Dec. 15, 1840, 

His tomb is in the middle of the chapel, and nineteen 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 309 

feet below the floor, in a large open space, circular in 
form, and surrounded by a marble balustrade, on which 
are engraved the names of the principal victories won 
by the emperor. *' Looking over the balustrade into 
the open space below, the massive sarcophagus of por^ 
phyry, brought from Finland, may be seen, which en^ 
closes the mortal remains of the great Napoleon. It 
rests upon a pedestal of green granite brought from 
the Vosges Mountains. Twelve colossal statues of 
Victory support the marble balustrade, and face the 
tomb. The pavement is in mosaic, with festoons of 
flowers, and the names of Napoleon's greatest victories. 
At one end of the crypt is a niche of black marble, in 
which stands a statue of Napoleon in his imperial robes. 
A lamp, always burning, hangs before it ; and under 
the lamp is an antique altar, on which are laid the three 
keys of the coffins in which the body was placed at St. 
Helena, the sword used by the emperor at Austerlitz, 
the hat he wore at Eylau, and the gold crown presented 
to him by the city of Cherbourg. On each side of the 
vault are standards taken in his battles. 

"Two winding stairways under the high altar of the 
church lead to the tomb, the entrance to which is closed 
by two superb bronze gates ; and on each side of the 
entrance are the tombs of Marshals Duroc and Bertrand, 
Napoleon's most devoted friends in life, and the guard- 
ians of his rest in death. Over the portal of the en- 
trance is the inscription, taken from the emperor's 
last will, ' I wish my ashes to repose on the banks of 
the Seine, in the midst of that French people whom I 
have loved so well.' Visitors are not allowed to enter 
the vault, but must pause at the closed gates. No 
rude sounds are heard around the ashes of the great 
soldier; and, in the church above, the crowd is silent 



3IO CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

and subdued ; for this is holy ground to every French- 
man." 

In connection with this subject should be read Mrs. 
Browning's beautiful poem, " Crowned and Buried." 



" O wild St. Helen ! very still she kept him, 
With a green willow for all pyramid, — 
Which stirred a little if the low wind did, 
A little more, if pilgrims overwept him. 
Disparting the lithe boughs to see the clay 
Which seemed to cover his for judgment-day. 

Nay ! not so long ! — France kept her old affection 

As deeply as the sepulchre the corse, 

Until dilated by such love's remorse 

To a new angel of the resurrection, 

She cried, ' Behold, thou England ! I would have 

The dead whereof thou wottest from that grave.' 

And England answered in the courtesy 
Which ancient foes, turned lovers, may befit, — 
' Take back thy dead ! and when thou buriest it, 
Throw in all former strife 'twixt thee and me.' 
Amen, mine England ! 'tis a courteous claim — 
But ask a little room too . . . for thy shame ! " 



240. THE MOST IMPORTANT INVENTION. 

The art of alphabetical writing is probably the most 
important invention ever made by man, and the glory 
of its invention belongs to the Phoenicians. The date 
of the invention is not definitely known. 

The Greeks obtained their alphabet from the Phoeni- 
cians. The Romans adopted that of the Greeks, with 
some few changes ; and the Roman is the basis of all 
modern alphabets. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 3II 

Capital letters were first invented, and were in use 
for many centuries before the invention of small letters. 
The oldest manuscripts now in use, dating as far back 
as the third century, are written entirely in capitals, and 
without spacing between the words, or marks of punc- 
tuation. The small letters were first introduced about 
the seventh century, but for some time afterwards the 
capitals were used much more than they are now. 

Punctuation (from the Latin punctum, a point) was 
unknown to the ancients. Aristophanes of Alexan- 
dria, about two and a half centuries before the Chris- 
tian era, introduced some of the marks now used. But 
it was not until about the year 1500 that Aldus Manu- 
tius, a learned printer of Venice, reduced the art of 
punctuation to a system : the extreme beauty and ele- 
gance of his editions gave it general currency. 

The art of printing was known to the Chinese as 
early as the sixth century. But their method is known 
as block-printing : each page is engraved by itself on a 
block of wood, and cannot be taken apart. The honor 
of the invention of printing from movable types has 
been disputed by two cities, Haarlem and Mentz. The 
Germans say that it was John Gutenberg of Strasburg ; 
but the Dutch say that Laurens Coster of Haarlem was 
the inventor — that Gutenberg was Coster's workman. 
The first edition of the " Speculum Humane Salvationis " 
was printed by Coster at Haarlem, about 1440. The 
celebrated Bible, known as the Mentz Bible, without 
date, was executed by Gutenberg and Faust between 
the years 1450 and 1455. The secret of the method 
then becoming known, presses were speedily established 
in all parts of Europe. 

William Caxton introduced the art of printing in 
England by setting up a press at Westminster about 



312 - CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

1471. The first book printed was "The Game of 
Chess." Caxton translated or wrote about sixty differ- 
ent books, all of which went through his own press 
before his death in 1491. The first printing by steam 
was executed in London by Bensley & Son in 18 17. 



241. COLOSSEUM OF ROME. 

This building, anciently called the Flavian Amphi- 
theatre, was named the Colosseum from the colossal 
statue of the Emperor Nero which was near by. The 
statue was of gilded bronze, one hundred and seven- 
teen feet in height, and represented the tyrant reful- 
gent with rays as the god of the sun. 

The Colosseum is, without doubt, the most celebrated 
building in the world. 

It is in the form of an ellipse, measuring eighteen 
hundred and forty-eight feet in circumference, and is 
built in a series of three arcades, one above another, 
with an attic over all, the total height being one hun- 
dred and sixty-five feet. The seats, which range up from 
the arena, are of massive stone, and could accommodate 
eighty-seven thousand persons. The seats were pro- 
tected from the sun by an awning of canvas stretched 
across the building. 

It was commenced by the Emperor Vespasian about 
the year A.D. 72, and completed at the end of the 
fourth year after the laying of the corner-stone. The 
last two rows were finished by the Emperor Titus, son 
of Vespasian, after his return from the conquest of 
Jerusalem. It is said that twelve thousand captive 
Jews were employed in building the Colosseum, and 
that the external walls alone cost a sum equal to seven- 
teen million francs. 







'^^£inf 



lil!i«i'f;ii';!3Er'''i|l!fiiiiliii:ji| 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 313 

It was dedicated by Titus in the year 80, with games 
that lasted one hundred days, during which time nine 
thousand animals were slain to gratify the thirst for 
blood of the savage populace, while eighty thousand 
spectators crowded from day to day the marble seats 
and corridors of this magnificent structure. 

Designed originally for exhibitions of wild beasts, 
which were made to fight in the arena, gladiatorial com- 
bats were soon introduced ; and, during the era of the 
persecutions of the Christians, many of them suffered 
martyrdom by being thrown to the wild beasts within 
the arena. The arena could on occasions be filled with 
water, for the sake of naval combats. 

There is an ancient prophecy concerning the Colos- 
seum : — 

"While stands the Colosseum, Rome will stand; 
When falls the Colosseum, Rome will fall ; 
And when Rome falls, the world ! " 



242. BRAZEN SERPENT OF MOSES. 

The history of the brazen serpent shows how even 
a legitimate symbol, retained beyond its time and after 
it has done its work, may become the object of idolatry. 

The brazen serpent seems to have been an object 
of worship, from an indefinite period to the reign of 
Hezekiah. 

The religious zeal of that king led him to destroy it 
(see 2 Kings xviii. 4). " He removed the high places, 
and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and 
brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had 
made: for unto those days the children of Israel did 
burn incense to it : and he called it Nehushtan." 



314 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

The Church of St. Ambrose, at Milan, has boasted 
for centuries of possessing the brazen serpent which 
Moses set up in the wilderness. 

The earlier history of the relic, so called, is a mat- 
ter of conjecture. 



243. ORIGIN OF SURNAMES. 

Surnames are so called from the early practice of 
writing them over the Christian names : instances of 
this custom can still be seen in the court-rolls and 
other ancient documents. 

Surnames, in modern times, were first used in 
France, particularly in Normandy, where they can be 
traced to the latter part of the tenth century. They 
were introduced into England by the Normans, after 
the Conquest. 

The ancient Hebrews, Egyptians, Syrians, Persians, 
etc., had but a single name, which was generally sig- 
nificant of some feature connected with their birth. 
Thus, dying Rachel had called her child Benoni, "the 
son of my sorrow ; " but Jacob gave him the name of 
Benjamin, "the son of my strength." These simple 
names, however, naturally soon became so common to 
many owners, as to fail to convey individuality ; and 
this led to the addition of other designations, now 
known to us as surnames. The oldest of these with 
which we are familiar are those of the Bible, where 
we read of Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and of Joshua 
the son of Nun. Only about a thousand surnames 
were taken up by the most noble families in France 
and in England about the time of Edward the Con- 
fessor. The lower nobility did not follow this example 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 315 

before the twelfth, and the citizens and husbandmen 
had no family names before the fourteenth century, 

English names have recruits among them from almost 
every race. The Hebrew is largely represented by its 
ancient Ben, which means son. Benjamin has been 
shortened into Benson, Benari, etc. Levi has been 
transformed into Lewis, and Elias into Ellis. 

The three most numerous patronymics of Celtic 
origin now in use among the English are the O, the 
Mac, and the Ap. The Irish O originally meant grand- 
son, the Scotch Mac and the Welch Ap meaning son. 

M. Scheie de Vere, in his " Studies in English," says, 
"The most fertile of all is, of course, the good old 
Anglo-Saxon son, and mixed up with it, now insepara- 
bly, the characteristic letter of the genitive, our s. 
Thus we have obtained from — 

Harry : Harrison, Harris, Herries, and, with the aid 
of kin, Hawkins. 

Andrew : Anderson, Andrews, Henderson. 

Michael : Mixon (Mike's son), and Oldmixon. 

Walter : Watson, Watts, Watkins. 

David: Davidson, *Davies, Dawson, Daws. 

Hodge : Hodgson, Hodges, Hutchins, Hutchkinson. 

William : Williamson, Williams, Wilson, Wills, Wil- 
kin, Wilkinson, Wilkes. 

Richard : Richardson, Richards. 

Dixon (Dick's son), Dickens, Dickenson. 

Adam : Adamson, Adams, Atkin, Atkins, Atkinson. 

Elias : Ellyson, Ellis, Ellice, Elliot. 

Anna : Anson. 

Nelly: Nelson. 

Patty : Patterson. 

He also gives many other illustrations, showing the 
derivation of many of the present surnames. 



3l6 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

The Jews were the last to adopt surnames, and it is 
only within the past one hundred years that they were 
compelled by law to adopt them in England. 



244. THE EUGUBINE TABLES. 

This is the name given to seven bronze tablets, the 
inscriptions on which present a remarkable memorial 
of the Umbrian language. 

The Umbrians are spoken of as the aborigines of 
Italy, and tradition leads us to believe that they at 
one time occupied the whole of that country ; but when 
they come before us as a distinct people, they occupy 
only a small district west of Etruria, and north of the 
country of the Sabines. 

The Umbrians joined with the Samnites in the wars 
against Rome, and repelled as long as possible the 
Roman supremacy. They were finally conquered, and 
were the faithful allies of Rome during the Punic wars. 
In the year 90 B.C. they received the Roman franchise, 
and disappear as a separate people. The Umbrian lan- 
guage is the oldest Italian dialect. 

These bronze tables were discovered in 1444, in a 
subterranean chamber at Gubbio (the ancient name of 
Eugubium), where they are still preserved. 

The inscriptions consist of directions concerning 
sacrificial usages, and forms of prayer ; and they seem 
to have been inscribed three or four centuries before 
the Christian era. 

The most accurate copy of the inscriptions was given 
by Lepsius, in 1841. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 31/ 

245. THE ELLORA CAVES. 

The Ellora caves are situated under the village of 
Rojah, in Hindoostan. 

They are important in that they establish a Hindoo 
chronology. 

No dates are contained in any Hindoo literature, and 
the first clew to the chronology of the Hindoos was 
obtained from these caves. 

The ancient town of Ellora is celebrated for its rock- 
cut temples. Some are cave-temples ; i.e., cut into the 
interior of the rocks : others are vast buildings hewn 
out of the solid granite of the hills. The most beauti- 
ful of these is the Temple of Kailasa. 

The cave-temples at Elephanta are rich in sculpture. 
Elephanta is an island six miles in circuit, in the har- 
bor of Bombay, It takes its name from a huge figure 
of an elephant near its principal landing-place. This 
colossal animal has been cut out of a detached rock, 
which is apparently of basaltic origin. 

On this island are three temples dug out of the liv- 
ing mountain, the roofs being supported by curiously 
wrought pillars of various forms and magnitudes, the 
walls being thickly sculptured into all the varieties of 
Hindoo mythology. These have long since been aban- 
doned by the priests, but are still frequented by per- 
sons who go there to pray. These temples are at least 
a thousand years old, if not older. 

The rock-cut sepulchres of Phrygia and Lycia, in 
Asia Minor, are of two kinds. Either the tomb is chis- 
elled out of a mass of rock in the form of a sarcopha- 
gus, or the sepulchre is cut into the rock, and a fagade 
is chiselled exhibiting the appearance of a wooden 
building. 



3l8 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

Some of them resemble a log house turned into 
stone. 

Sometimes the whole face of the mountain is cov- 
ered with these remarkable structures, tomb rising 
above tomb. As regards the dates of these monu- 
ments, we may expect further information from the 
decipherment of the inscriptions. 

The earliest may date as far back as the seventh 

century B.C. 

■ % ■ 

246. THE IMAGE OF NABIS. 

The wicked and cruel Nabis — the last of the Spar- 
tan kings of Greece — had an image set up in his 
palace, which resembled his own beautiful wife. 

It was clothed with magnificent garments, such as 
were proper for a queen to wear ; but the breast and 
arms of the image were stuck full of sharp iron spikes, 
which were hidden by the rich clothes. 

When King Nabis wished to extort money from any 
person, he invited him to his palace, and led him up 
to be introduced to the queen. No sooner was the 
stranger within reach, than the image, by means of 
machinery, put out its arms, and squeezed him close to 
its breast. The man might struggle ; but, with iron 
spikes piercing his flesh, there was no escape from the 
cruel embrace of the statue until his agony compelled 
him to give the king as much money as he asked. 



247. THE "LADIES' PEACE." 

On the death of Louis XII., in 1515, the chivalrous 
■duke, Francis of Angouleme, ascended the throne of 
France as Francis I. He was at the same time a 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 319 

candidate for the imperial throne of Germany ; and, on 
the election of Charles V. to that honorable position, 
Francis became his enemy. 

Four wars arose between these two monarchs, caused 
by the claims of each to the other's possessions in Italy, 
Navarre, and the Netherlands, 

The second war between Charles V. of Germany and 
Francis I. of France was closed, in 1529, by the " Ladies' 
Peace " of Cambray, so called because it was negotiated 
by the aunt of Charles and the mother of Francis, 

By this treaty, the King of France relinquished his 
pretensions to the duchy of Milan, and paid two million 
crowns for the ransom of his sons, who were held as 
hostages by the German emperor, retaining, however, 
possession of the dukedom of Burgundy. 



248. AUTHORS' NAMES WHICH SUGGEST THEIR 
CHIEF WORK, 

Bunyan's " Pilgrim's Progress." 
Homer's "Iliad," 
Virgil's "^neid." 
Cowper's "Task." 
Milton's " Paradise Lost," 
Tasso's " Jerusalem Delivered," 
Dante's " Inferno," 
Spenser's "Faerie Oueene." 
Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales." 
Bryant's "Thanatopsis." 
Gray's "Elegy," 
Thomson's "Seasons," 
Young's " Night Thoughts." 
Cervantes' "Don Quixote." 
Camoens' " Lusiad." 



320 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

De Foe's "Robinson Crusoe." 
Moore's "Lalla Rookh." 
Ariosto's " Orlando Furioso." 



249. ROMAN SCULPTURE. 

This school of art first appeared in Rome 148 B.C.^ 
when the victorious Romans bore off from Greece her 
most prized works of sculpture ; but it never acquired 
great activity until the reigns of Caesar and Augustus. 

How little the Romans were prepared to appreciate 
Grecian art, is illustrated in Mummius, who threatened 
the laborers, packing the paintings and sculpture taken 
from, Corinth, that, if any were injured or lost, they 
would have to make others like them. 

The taste for sculpture, cultivated by these collec- 
tions at Rome, gave rise to a new Attic School in 
Rome. 

Nearly all that is finest in the rich Italian collections 
of antique art is ascribed to the Augustan age. The 
most important statues of this period are the Medicean 
Venus, in the Tribune of the Uffizzi at Florence, by 
Cleomenes of Athens (after the Cnidian Venus of 
Praxiteles) ; the Farnese Hercules, of the Museum of 
Naples, by Glycon ; the famous Torso of the Belve- 
dere at Rome, by Apollonius of Athens. 

To this period also belong the Caryatides with which 
Diogenes of Athens adorned the Pantheon. 



250. THE SACRO GATING. 

In the treasury of the Cathedral of Genoa (exhibited 
only by an order from the municipality) is the Sacro 
Catino, long shown to the people as the vessel used by 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 32 1 

our Saviour at the Last Supper. Another tradition 
tells that it was originally given to King Solomon by 
the Queen of Sheba. 

When Caesarea was taken by the Genoese and Pisan 
Crusaders, in iioi, the Genoese gave up to the Pisans 
all the rest of the booty on condition that the Sacro 
Catino was left to them. 

Nothing could exceed the veneration with which it 
was regarded at Genoa. 

Twelve knights, called " Clavigeri," were appointed 
as its special guard, each being responsible during one 
month of the year for the safety of the tabernacle 
which contained it. The Sacro Catino was said to have 
been formed from a single emerald. 

In 1476 a law appeared, punishing with death any 
•one who touched the Sacro Catino. 

It was carried to Paris in 1809; and when returned, 
in 18 15, it was broken. 



251. THE LAST ASTROLOGER. 

Astrology is one of the most ancient sciences founded 
upon superstition. The history of its rise and progress 
is nearly the same as that of astronomy. Astrologers 
were supposed to foretell the principal events in a 
man's life, by the position of the stars and the influence, 
of the planets at the time of his birth. The univer- 
sality of the belief is found in our common adjectives, 
by which we designate 2i jovial man, as born under the 
influence of Jupiter or Jove, tnartial from Mars, sat- 
urnine from Saturn, and mercurial from Mercury. 

Its decline may be dated from the time of Coperni- 
cus, A.D. 1540. 



322 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

His discovery of the true planetary system shook 
the faith of most people in astrology. The last man 
of any note in England who claimed to be an astrol- 
oger was William Lily (1602-165 1), i^i the time of 
Charles I. The term astrology is from two Greek 
words, a(TTpov-koyo<i, signifying discourse concerning the 
stars ; as astronomy, changing the word Aoyos for vo/xos, 
means the laws of the stars. 



252. THE FASTI CAPITOLINI. 

In establishing the dates of ancient events, much aid 
has been afforded by the discovery of monuments of 
great antiquity, bearing chronological inscriptions. 

Among the most interesting remains of this kind 
are the Fasti Capitolini, discovered in the Forum at 
Rome in 1547, in 1817, and 1818. 

These records are in fragments ; but they contain a 
list of the Roman magistrates and triumphs, from the 
commencement of the Republic until the end of the 
reign of Augustus, A.D. 14, and corroborate important 
historical data. 

"Fas," in Latin, signifies divine law, right, or justice. 
The sacred books in which the lawful days of the year 
were marked, were denominated Fasti. 

The term "Fasti," in an extended sense, came to 
be used by the poets as synonymous with historical 
records. 

The term " Capitoline " denotes their having been 
placed in the Capitol, where they may still be seen. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 323 

253. PSYCHE. 

The face which is considered the loveliest in antique 
sculpture is that of Psyche at Naples. 

The touching story of Psyche and Cupid is an alle- 
gory taken from the " Golden Ass " of Apuleius. 

It forms the subject of a celebrated wall-painting by 
Raphael, in the Farnese Palace in Rome. 

Psyche, so the story runs, was the daughter of a 
king, and very beautiful. ,The fame of her beauty 
awoke the jealousy of Venus, who charged her son, 
Cupid, to inspire Psyche with love for some mortal. 

Cupid obeyed, so far as to visit Psyche ; but, being 
himself struck with her beauty, he carried her off to 
a fairy palace, where they spent many happy hours 
together, with only this drawback, that she was never 
to look with her mortal eyes upon her lover. Her curi- 
osity, however, led her to look upon him as he lay 
asleep, when a drop of oil from her lamp awoke him^ 
and he immediately took flight. 

She wandered about from place to place seeking him, 
subject to severe persecution at the hands of Venus, 
and enduring great suffering. 

Cupid at last came to her rescue, the anger of Venus 
was appeased, and the marriage of Cupid and Psyche 
was celebrated with great rejoicing in the presence of 
the higher gods. 

This allegory is thought by some to indicate that 
castles in the air are exquisite until we look at them as 
realities, when they instantly vanish, and leave only 
disappointment and vexation behind. By others it is 
thought to illustrate the three stages in the existence 
of a soul, — its pre-existence in a blessed state, its ex- 
istence on earth with its trials and anguish, and its 
future state of happy immortality. 



324 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

254, SABBATH, OR SUNDAY. 

Sabbath (from Shabbath, to rest from labor) is the 
name applied to the seventh day of the week. Through- 
out the world, one day in seven is very generally 
observed as a day of rest from toil. This custom origi- 
nates from the fact, that in six days God created all 
things, resting on the seventh day ; and He commanded 
that each seventh day should be a holy day. 

The Sabbath was legally proclaimed about the year 
1491 B.C., on Mount Sinai (Exod. xxi. 12-18). The 
first public observance is recorded in Exod. xxxv. 1-4. 
There can be no doubt about its meaning in the Old 
Testament : it is intended as a testimony of faith in 
God as the Creator of the world. The Jews in all parts 
of the world still keep the " Sabbath day," beginning 
with sunset on the evening of the sixth day (Friday), 
and ending with sunset on the seventh day (Saturday). 

This is in accordance with the Scripture phraseology, 
"and the evening and the morning were the first day." 

The substitution of the first day of the week for the 
observance of the Sabbath, or holy day of rest, was 
made in the very early ages of Christianity, but the 
exact date is unknown ; and at first the Christians ob- 
served both the first and the seventh days. 

The argument for the observance of the Sabbath on 
the first day of the week is, that there is no proof that 
the Jewish count actually began on the seventh day 
from the creation ; that as the Jews made it a memorial 
of the creation, and their liberation from bondage, so 
Christians may well observe it weekly upon the first 
day, when the Saviour rose from the dead, delivering 
them from the bondage of sin and eternal death. 

Constantine the Great issued an edict, in A.D. 321, 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 325 

proclaiming Sunday as a legal day of rest, and holy unto 
the Lord, which edict was subsequently incorporated 
in the civil law of the empire, and ultimately adopted 
by all the nations which arose from the ruins of the 
Roman Empire. 



255. OUR FLAG VICTORIOUS IN THE OLD WORLD. 

The only town in the Old World ever captured by 
the United States is the town of Derne, in Tripoli) 
on the northern coast of Africa. 

The inhabitants were chiefly Moors, Turks, and 
Arabs, of the Mohammedan religion. The ports of the 
Barbary States — Algiers, Morocco, Tunis, and Tripoli 
— were infested with pirates, who darted out upon ves- 
sels which sailed up and down the Mediterranean Sea, 
and, after plundering them, either murdered the crew, 
or sold them into slavery. These pirates became the 
terror of Europe ; and some mercantile countries had to 
pay a yearly tribute, in order to secure safety for their 
vessels. 

England was the only nation feared by these pirates ; 
and, so long as American vessels sailed under the Eng- 
lish flag, they were reasonably secure : but, when the 
United States became a separate nation, the pirates 
demanded tribute. 

For a time the government paid the tribute, as the 
easiest way to secure her commerce ; but in 1801 the 
Dey of Tripoli grew so bold as to declare war against 
the United States, being dissatisfied with the payments 
of the tribute. 

For four years a series of fights took place, until, in 
1804, the American navy having been increased in the 
Mediterranean Sea, a vigorous attack was made upon 



326 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

the pirates. Gen. Eaton succeeded in taking Derne, 
one of their ports, and raised the American flag over it : 
this was the first and the last time our flag was unfurled 
in victory over a foreign town. A treaty of peace was 
made, prisoners were exchanged, and piracy for a time 
came to an end. 



256. THE SACRED BOOKS OF THE HINDOOS. 

The Hindoos have sacred books of great antiquity, 
and a literature extending back twenty or thirty centu- 
ries, but no history, no chronology, no annals. 

Thp oldest of their sacred books, the Vedas (knowl- 
edge or science), contain the revelation of Brahma, and 
were preserved by tradition until collected by Vyasa 
(compiler) ; and they represent an epoch, probably the 
fifteenth century B.C. 

The Vedas are three in number : first, the Rig-Veda, 
containing hymns and mystic prayers ; second, the Yajur- 
Veda, containing the religious rites ; third, the Sama- 
Veda, with prayers in the form of songs. The Vedas 
were written in Sanscrit, and were first translated into 
English by Sir William Jones. Few Hindoos now 
read the Vedas. The Puranas and the two great epics 
constitute their sacred books. The Ramayana and the 
Mahabharata are the most colossal epic poems to be 
found in the literature of the world. 

According to Lassen, the period of the two great 
epics follows the period of the Vedas. The whole life 
of ancient India is found in them. 

The Ramayana contains about fifty thousand lines, 
and is held in great veneration by the Hindoos. 

It describes the youth of Rama, who is an incarna- 
tion of their god Vishnu ; his banishment and residence 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 327 

in Central India. It is probably founded on some real 
war between the early Aryan invaders of Hindostan 
and the indigenous inhabitants. 

The Mahabharata, supposed to be of later date, con- 
sists of about two hundred and twenty thousand lines^ 
divided into eighteen books. 

From these epics, there appear to have been two 
dynasties in ancient India, — the solar and the lunar. 

Rama belonged to the first, and Bharata to the second. 

Five brothers, the descendants of Bharata, are the 
heroes of the Mahabharata ; and episodes in the lives of 
these heroes occupy three-fourths of the poem. 

The Puranas are derived from the same religious 
system as the two epics. 

They relate more fully their mythological legends. 
The gods, Siva and Vishnu, are almost the sole objects 
of worship in the Puranas. 

These Puranas, eighteen in number, are in the form 
of dialogue, and contain one million six hundred thou- 
sand lines. 

Mr. Talboys Wheeler has recently incorporated the 
epics of the Hindoos (much abridged) in his " History 
of India." 



257. CATHEDRAL OF ST. ISAAC. 

By far the most important church in St. Petersburg 
is the great Cathedral of St. Isaac, built between the 
years 1819 and 1858; and it is one of the largest and 
most expensive buildings in modern Europe. 

The church is a rectangle with four porticos, — two 
with eight, and two with sixteen, columns each, which 
are of rose-colored granite, and, after Pompey's Pillar 
and the column of Alexander in St. Petersburg, are 



328 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

the largest single stones which the hand of man has 
cut, rounded, and polished. 

Each column is fifty-six feet high, and six and one- 
half feet in diameter. 

The dome rests upon a peristyle of twenty-four simi- 
lar columns, but only forty-two feet in height. 

The great gilt dome swells upward, surmounted by 
an octagonal lantern, also gilt, and above it a colossal 
cross. 

At various points throughout the cathedral are groups 
or single figures of angels and of the apostles, and the 
superb bronze doors are ornamented with bass-reliefs. 

Within, the building is magnificent with paintings, 
and with marbles of various tints. 

The foundation alone of this magnificent structure 
cost four millions of dollars. 



258. AEROLITES, OR METEORIC STONES. 

Meteoric stones, in single masses and in showers, 
have fallen from the atmosphere at various periods, in 
many parts of the world. The largest of these stones 
at present known is in the province of Tucuman, South 
America, and weighs thirty thousand pounds. 

Aerolites have been proven to be atmospheric, both 
by eye-witnesses, by the similarity of their composi- 
tion in all cases, and also by the fact, that, though the 
materials mingled are well known, they are never 
united in the same manner as in the productions of 
our globe, and nothing like them has been ejected from 
terrestrial volcanoes ; and, further, by the fact that 
their situation is generally isolated, and on the sur- 
face of the earth. There have been many theories 
advanced as to their origin. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 329 

La Place traces them to volcanic origin. The respect 
due to his opinions no one will dispute ; but Professor 
Olmsted, the American astronomer, has offered the 
most satisfactory explanation. He has shown that 
countless bodies of small dimensions cluster together 
in vast rings, and revolve, as do the planets, around the 
sun. 

These bodies become visible when the orbit of the 
earth approaches their orbit ; and, when they come 
within the atmosphere of the earth, they are ignited, 
and fall upon the earth as meteoric stones. A remark- 
able aerolite fell at yEgospotami, in 467 B.C., which 
was, according to Pliny, to be seen in his day, '^as 
large as a wagon." One fell in California, in August, 
1873, which penetrated the earth to a depth of eight 
feet, and when dug up was still so hot that it could not 
be handled. 



259. THE BONES OF COLUMBUS. 

Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of America, 
was born in Genoa, Italy, about the year 1435 A.D., 
and died at Valladolid, Spain, in profound obscurity. 
May 20, 1506. 

His body was deposited in a vault in the Convent 
Church of the Franciscans, where it remained for some 
time ; but afterwards, according to a request made in 
his will, his remains were removed to the city of Santo 
Domingo in his "beloved Hispaniola," and placed in a 
small, enclosed vault in the cathedral. 

Just to the right of this vault were deposited the 
remains of Don Diego, the son of Columbus, who died 
at Montalban, in 1526; and long afterwards the bones 
of Don Luis, the grandson of Columbus, were brought 



330 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

to the same place. Thus there were three crypts in 
the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, — one containing the 
remains of Christopher Columbus, one those of Diego, 
and the third those of Luis. 

With regard to all these remains, the obscurity seems 
to have been profound until the year 1783. It was 
known to students of local history, that the remains of 
Christopher Columbus were somewhere in the building ; 
but even the traditions as to his son and grandson were 
lost, or at least very vague. In that year, while mak- 
ing some slight repairs and alterations, a crypt was 
unexpectedly found, and in it a small metallic case, 
without any inscription, which was at once accepted as 
containing the remains of Christopher Columbus. 

In the year 1795 the war between France and Spain 
was brought to a close, and the Spaniards were com- 
pelled to cede to the French all the Spanish part of 
the island of Santo Domingo ; but by the courtesy of 
the French officials they were allowed to convey the 
supposed remains of Columbus to Havana, and the 
exhumation was solemnly made on the 20th of Decem- 
ber, 1795. 

On the 14th of May, 1877, the crypt containing the 
remains of Don Luis was accidentally discovered. 
This discovery caused much excitement, and revived 
an old tradition, that the bones removed in 1795 were 
not those of Christopher Columbus. The authorities 
now decided to make a careful investigation, which 
should verify, or else forever set at rest, the tradition. 
Their efforts were crowned with success. On the gos- 
pel side of the chapel (the left facing the altar) they 
found two crypts, the first one empty, because the re- 
mains had been carried away in 1795 : the second one 
contained a small metallic case, with inscriptions in 



CURIOUS QUES7Y0NS. 33 I 

Spanish on both the outside and inside of the cover, — 
" Most illustrious and renowned personage, Don Cris- 
toval Colon," and " Discoverer of America, First Ad- 
miral." The chest was opened, only to increase the 
certainty : on the interior of the cover were found the 
words, " Most illustrious and renowned personage, Don 
Cristoval Colon." 

On the two sides, and on the front, were the letters 
C. C, A., meaning Christopher Columbus, Admiral. 
Upon careful examination of the contents, there were 
found bones and bone-dust, very few and small, with a 
small bit of the skull, a leaden ball, and a small silver 
plate inscribed " U. Cristoval Colon." 

Dr. Coppee says in his article on this subject in 
Stoddart's "Review," and from which this is mainly 
taken, — 

" Every one who was present at once accepted this ocular proof, 
that what was left of the body of the great discoverer had not 
been taken away to Havana, but was really there before his eyes, 
with an indubitable record of identification. It may be doubted 
whether in the wildest scenes of internecine strife and blood in 
all its history, Santo Domingo had ever witnessed such popular 
excitement. Time had brought them the knowledge of a great 
treasure. Te Deutns were sung. The Legislature at once made 
an appropriation from ' the extraordinary funds ' of ten thousand 
dollars as a contribution to a fitting monument. The archbishop, 
Roque Cocchin, kept his secretaries busy in sending the news of 
the discovery everywhere. ... 

" When the news reached the Spanish capital, it struck every- 
body, court and people alike, with painful surprise. The honor 
of Spain was supposed to be impugned. It was not only humili- 
ating in itself, but it argued great carelessness in the Spanish offi- 
cials, at the time of the translation, that for more than seventy 
years they should have fixed upon Spain the delusion that the 
precious remains of the great discoverer were resting in the 
Cathedral of Havana, and that generations of reverential visitors 



332 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

to ' the pilgrim shrine ' had been wasting their sentiment on a 
mistaken object. 

" The letter of the archbishop, with the accompanying proofs, 
was placed, by order of the king, in the hands of the most appro- 
priate body, La real Acadetnia de la Historia. A special commit- 
tee was appointed to take the matter in hand. Of course they 
reported adversely, charging the San Domingians with schemes 
and fraud, and absurd credulity. 

"The controversy that ensued brought out a work of three 
hundred and thirty-seven pages from the hand of the archbishop. 
In this valuable work he goes over much historical matter not 
before generally known. An unprejudiced perusal dissipates every 
shadow of art or deception. Few things are so clearly proven, as 
that the remains of the great discoverer are still preserved in the 
Cathedral Church of Santo Domingo, the spot which he selected 
as his burial-place. It has been proposed to erect a lofty column 
over the sacred dust, which shall tell the passing ships of every 
nation of ' the gratitude of mankind to Christopher Columbus,' — 
* A Cristoval Colon la humanidad asfradecida.' " 



260. VIRGIL AND THE ^NEID. 

Publius Vergilius (or Virgilius) Maro was born at 
Andes, Oct. 15, 70 B.C. 

His father was a farmer, but spared no pains in the 
education of his son, sending him to school at Cremona, 
Milan, and finally, when he was sixteen years old, to 
Naples, where he was instructed by the poet and phi- 
losopher, Parthenius. 

After spending several years in Naples, Virgil went 
to Rome (47 B.C.) : but his love of country life and his 
feeble health led him back to Andes ; there, in the year 
42 B.C., he began to write his "Bucolics," to which the 
name of " Eclogues " was afterwards given. These 
short pastorals, ten in number, were all written before 
the year 37 B.C. ; and they at once attracted attention, 
and gained for him friends and fame. The most fin- 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 333 

ished work of Virgil, his "Georgica," is an agricultural 
poem: its object was "to recommend the principles 
of the ancient Romans, their love of home, of labor, of 
piety, and order ; to magnify their domestic happiness 
and greatness ; to make men proud of their country on 
better grounds than the mere glory of its arms, and 
extent of its conquests. ... To comprehend the moral 
grandeur of the 'Georgics,' in point of style the most 
perfect piece of Roman literature, we must regard it as 
the glorification of Labor." 

But the poem with which his name is coupled for all 
time is his epic poem, the .^neid. This was written 
during the last eleven years of his life : he proposed to 
devote three years more to polishing and completing 
the poem, but died without having given it his final 
touches. It is said, that for this reason he expressed a 
wish when on his death-bed, to burn the poem ; but his 
friends would not gratify him, and it was published 
without alteration by Varius and Plotius. 

In the year 19 (B.C.) Virgil was seized with a sudden 
illness, and died in a few days at Brundusium, Sept. 22, 
in his fifty-first year. 

In accordance with his request, his body was con- 
veyed to Naples for burial. His tomb, on the hill of 
Posilipo, is still visited by tourists from every land. 

The -^neid is an epic poem in twelve books, and 
treats of the following events : — 

When Troy was taken by the Greeks, vEneas, carry 
ing his aged father Anchises on his back, and leading 
his wife and son, escaped from the burning city, intend- 
ing to go to Italy, the original birthplace of his family. 

The wife was lost, and the old father died ; but, after 
numerous adventures by sea and land, ^neas and his 
son Ascanius arrived in Italy. Latinus, the king, re- 



334 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

ceived him kindly, and soon promised him his daughter 
Lavinia in marriage. But she had already been be- 
trothed by her mother to Turnus ; and the king, finding 
no other way out of his dilemma, proposed that the 
rivals should settle the dispute by combat. Turnus 
was slain. yEneas married Lavinia, and succeeded his 
father-in-law upon the throne. 

Dr. Brewer, in "The Reader's Handbook," gives the 
following outline of the yEneid : — 

"Book I. — The escape from Troy, ^neas and his son, 
driven by a tempest on the shores of Carthage, are hospitably 
entertained by Queen Dido. 

"Book II. — ^neas tells Dido the tale of the wooden horse, 
the burning of Troy, and his flight with his father, wife, and son. 
The wife was lost and died. 

"Book III. — The narrative continued. The perils he met 
with on the way, and the death of his father. 

" Book IV. — Dido falls in love with .^neas, but he steals away 
from Carthage ; and Dido, on a funeral pyre, puts an end to her 
life. 

" Book V. — ^neas reaches Sicily, and celebrates there the 
games in honor of Anchises. This book corresponds to the Iliad, 
XXIII. 

"Book VI. — ^neas visits the infernal regions. This book 
corresponds to Odyssey, XI. 

"Book VII. — Latinus, King of Italy, entertains ^neas, and 
promises to him Lavinia (his daughter) in marriage ; but Prince 
Turnus had been already betrothed to her by the mother, and 
raises an army to resist ^neas. 

"Book VIII. — Preparations on both sides for a general war. 

"Book IX. — Turnus, during the absence of ^neas, fires the 
ships, and assaults the camps. The episode of Nisus and 
Euryalus. 

" Book X. — The war between Turnus and ^neas. Episode 
of Mezentius and Lausus. 

"Book XI. — The battle continued. 

" Book XII. — Turnus challenges ^neas to single combat, and 
is killed." 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 335 

261. POMPEY'S PILLAR. 

This celebrated monumental pillar is situated about 
eighteen hundred feet from the southern gate of Alex- 
andria, Egypt. It is composed of red granite, with a 
Corinthian capital nine feet high. The shaft and upper 
member of the base are of one piece, ninety feet long, 
and nine in diameter : the base is about fifteen feet 
square. The shaft, sixty feet in circumference, rests 
upon two layers bound together with lead. The whole 
column is one hundred and fourteen feet high. It is 
in a good state of preservation, with the exception of 
one of the volutes of the column, which was prema- 
turely brought down some years ago by a frolic of some 
English seamen : the account is thus given by Mr. 
Irwin : — 

" These jolly sons of Neptune had been pushing about the can 
on board one of the ships in the harbor, until a strange freak en- 
tered into one of their brains. The eccentricity of the thought 
occasioned it immediately to be adopted, and its apparent impossi- 
bility was but a spur for the putting it into execution. The boat 
was ordered; and, with proper implements for the attempt, these 
enterprising heroes pushed ashore, to drink a bowl of punch on 
the top of Pompey's Pillar! At the spot they arrived; and many 
contrivances were proposed, to accomplish the desired point. But 
their labor was vain ; and they began to despair of success, when 
the genius who struck out the frolic happily suggested the means 
of performing it. A man was despatched to the city for a paper 
kite ; and the inhabitants, by this time apprised of what was going 
forward, flocked in crowds to be witnesses of the address and 
boldness of the English. The governor of Alexandria was told 
that these seamen were about to pull down Pompey's Pillar. But 
whether he gave them credit for their respect to the Roman war- 
rior or to the Turkish Government, he left them to themselves, 
and politely answered that the English were too great patriots to 
injure the remains of Pompey. He knew little, however, of the 
disposition of the people who were engaged in this undertaking. 



336 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

" Had the Turkish empire risen in opposition, it would not at that 
moment have deterred them. The kite was brought, and flown 
directly over the pillar, so that, when it fell on the other side, the 
string lodged upon the capital. The chief obstacle was now over- 
come. A two-inch rope was tied to one end of the string, and 
drawn over the pillar by the end to which the kite was affixed. 
By this rope, one of the seamen ascended to the top ; and in less 
than an hour a kind of shroud was constructed, by which the 
whole company went up, and drank their punch, amidst the shouts 
of the astonished multitude. To the eye below, the capital of the 
pillar does not appear capable of holding more than one man upon 
it ; but our seamen found it could contain no less than eight per- 
sons very conveniently. It is astonishing that no accident befell 
these madcaps in a situation so elevated that it would have turned 
a landsman giddy in his sober senses. The only detriment which 
the pillar received was the loss of the volute, before mentioned, 
which came down with a thundering sound, and was carried to 
England by one of the captains, as a present to a lady who had 
commissioned him to procure her a piece of it. The discovery 
which they made amply compensated for this mischief; as without 
their evidence the world would not have known at this hour that 
there was originally a statue on this pillar, one foot and ankle of 
which are still remaining. The statue must have been of a gigan- 
tic size, to have appeared of a man's proportion at so great a height. 
There are circumstances in this story which might give it the air 
of fiction, were it not proved be3'ond all doubt. Besides the testi- 
monies of many eye-witnesses, the adventurers themselves have 
left a token of the fact, by the initials of their names, which are 
very legibly painted in black just beneath the capital." 

The name popularly applied to this column is an 
erroneous appellation given by ancient travellers, who 
confess they do not know whence it is derived, or why 
still retained. The inscription on the base shows that 
it was erected by Publius, Prefect of Egypt, in honor of 
the Emperor Diocletian, who is styled upon it 'The 
Invincible ; ' and it is supposed to record the conquest 
of the city of Alexandria by Diocletian, 296 A.D, 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 337 

362. A RIVER OF INK. 

Among the wonders of nature in Algeria, there is a 
remarkable phenomenon of a river of genuine ink. 

It is formed by the junction of two streams, one 
flowing from a region of ferruginous soil, the other 
draining a peat swamp. 

The waters of the first are, of course, strongly im- 
pregnated with iron ; those of the latter with gallic 
acid. 

On meeting, the acid of one stream combines with 
the iron of the other, and a true ink is the result. In 
the older days of a mythology of nature, it would not 
have required a very vivid fancy to seat a Titan upon 
the bank, with a tall Egyptian reed for his pen, inditing 
upon gigantic papyrus the true cosmogony of things 
visible, and the fancied theogony of things unseen. 

Many curious facts and superstitions could be gath- 
ered in connection with rivers, — the Nile, so mysteri- 
ously sacred to the Egyptians ; the Tiber, so dear and 
so sacred to the Romans ; the Rubicon ; the Pactolus, 
a river of Lydia, in which Midas is said to have washed 
away from himself the power of turning into gold what- 
ever he touched, and from which circumstance it ever 
after rolled golden sands ; the Ganges, still so sacred 
to the Hindoos, that, in British courts of justice in Hin- 
dostan, the water is used for swearing Hindoos, as the 
Koran is for the Mohammedans, and the Bible for 
Christians. The city of Benares, on the banks of the 
Ganges, is to the Hindoos the holiest place on earth. 
Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims go there every year 
to bathe in the river, and thus, as they think, to wash 
away their sins. The month of June is devoted to the 
bath of their idol, Juggernaut. 



338 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

But, apart from superstition, the Ganges is a wonder- 
ful river. Its source is nearly two miles above the level 
of the sea, in the Himalaya Mountains ; the water flow- 
ing out of a cave of ice at the bottom of a glacier. 
Many other rivers flow into it ; and it soon becomes a 
mile wide, and very rapid : its length is fifteen hundred 
and forty miles. At a distance of five hundred miles 
from the sea, the channel is thirty feet deep. About 
two hundred miles from the sea, the delta of the 
Ganges commences by the separation of the river into 
parts. Between the different mouths are numerous 
islands, called Sunderbunds, which are covered with 
profuse and rank vegetation called jungle, and are 
haunted by crocodiles and tigers. The air at this sec- 
tion is so unhealthy that no one can live there, yet 
the water of the Ganges is esteemed for its medicinal 
virtues. 

Then, there is the river Jordan, almost as sacred to 
Christians as the Ganges is to the Hindoos, on account 
of the baptism of our Lord (St. Matthew iii. 13-17). 

The Jordan is emphatically the river of Palestine, 
as the Nile is the river of Egypt. It has its phenomena 
in its annual rise, tortuous course, and rapid descent. 

It has been twice fully explored. It rises at the foot 
of a high cliff near the entrance of a deep cavern; but 
its direct course is after it leaves the Lake of Tiberias, 
until it empties into the Dead Sea. This is but a dis- 
tance of sixty miles ; yet so winding is it, that the 
actual length of the river is two hundred miles. 

The Jordan, except near its source, is below the level 
of the ocean ; and the Dead Sea, where it empties, is 
a quarter of a mile below the surface of the Mediterra- 
nean. 

The rapid descent of the Jordan has been explained 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 339 

by the explorations of Lieutenants Molyneux and 
Lynch, who found no less than twenty-seven rapids 
in its course ; and also, that from Lake Tiberias to the 
Dead Sea, it has a fall of ten hundred and fifty feet. 

It rushes over roaring rapids, between high banks 
covered with tamarisks and willows, so that there are 
few places of access to its waters. 

There were anciently four fords of the Jordan. At 
cne of these, on Monday before Easter, the pilgrims 
of the Greek Church, often eight thousand in number, 
who have come down from Jerusalem escorted by the 
pacha and a guard of Turkish soldiers, perform the 
well-known ceremony of bathing in the sacred stream, 
A short distance below this is the point where the river 
loses itself in the lifeless waters of the Dead Sea. 



263. EFFECT OF THE FRANCO-PRUSSIAN WAR. 

This war re-united Alsace and Lorraine to Germany, 
and secured the sum of two hundred million pounds as 
war indemnity ; and the German people, hitherto much 
divided in sympathy, were drawn closely together, so 
that, at the end of the war, the twenty-five sovereign 
states of Germany united under a restored empire, 
King William of Prussia being chosen Emperor of 
Germany. 

The effect upon France was just the reverse. After 
the defeat of the French army, the Emperor Napoleon 
in. was deposed by a Parisian mob, and France became 
a Republic. The German forces gained possession of a 
large part of France, and imposed a heavy fine upon 
the country. 

After being held prisoner for six months at Wilhelms- 



340 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

hohe, near Cassel, Napoleon retired to Chiselhurst, in 
Kent, England, where he died, Jan. 9, 1873. 

The Franco-Prussian war was declared by France in 
July, 1870, on the ground that the King of Prussia re- 
fused to prohibit his relative. Prince Leopold, from 
becoming a candidate for the vacant throne of Spain. 



264. THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS. 

John Bunyan, the author of " The Pilgrim's Prog- 
ress," was born at Elstow, near Bedford, England, in 
1628. 

In 1655 he became a Baptist minister, and preached 
with great success, until, in the restoration of Charles 
II,, an Act against conventicles was passed, which put 
an end to his labors : he was tried, convicted, and sen- 
tenced to perpetual banishment, but was shut up in 
Bedford jail, where he passed the next twelve years of 
his life. He employed himself while there in making 
tagged laces for the support of his family, and in writ- 
ing "The Pilgrim's Progress" and other books. His 
library consisted of a Bible, and Fox's "Martyrs." 

He was several times offered his liberty, on the con- 
dition that he should give up preaching ; but his brave 
answer was always, " If you let me out to-day, I'll 
preach again to-morrow." He was finally released, 
through the kindly interposition of Dr. Barlow of Lin- 
coln, in 1671. After the declaration of James II. in 
favor of liberty of conscience, Bunyan again took charge 
of a church in Bedford, and preached to large congre- 
gations for the rest of his life. He died, 1688, in Lon- 
don, where he always went once a year to preach, and 
was buried in Bunhill Fields, called by Southey " The 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 34 1 

Campo Santo of the Dissenters." A monument, with 
a recumbent statue of Bunyan, was erected over his 
grave in 1862. 

" The Pilgrim's Progress," his chief work, has gone 
through more editions, and been translated into more 
languages, than any book except the Bible. It is an 
allegory of a Christian's life from the time of his con- 
version to that of his death. 

" His doubts are giants ; his sins, a pack ; his Bible, a 
chart ; his minister, Evangelist ; his conversion, a flight 
from the City of Destruction ; his struggle with beset- 
ing sins, a fight with Apollyon ; his death, a toilsome 
passage over a deep stream, and so on. 

"The second part is Christiana and her family led by 
Greatheart through the same road, to join Christian, 
who had gone before." 



265. THE BLACK ROOD OF SCOTLAND. 

When the Anglo-Saxon princess who became the 
wife of King Malcolm Ceanmore landed in Scotland, 
about the year 1070, she brought with her what was re- 
garded as a priceless relic, — a casket in the form of a 
cross, containing what was believed to be a piece of the 
true cross, set in an ebony crucifix, richly ornamented 
with gold. Of the earlier history of this relic, nothing- 
is known ; but St. Margaret bequeathed it to her chil- 
dren, and, when she was dying, pressed it to her lips 
and eyes, and expired clasping it with both her hands. 

The contemporary biographer of her son, King David 
I., relates that the "Black Rood of Scotland," as it was 
called, had received the dying adoration of that saintly 
prince, and that in the twelfth century it had come to 



342 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

be regarded by the whole Scottish nation with feelings 
of mingled love and awe. It was kept as an heirloom 
of the kingdom, in the castle of Edinburgh, until, with 
other relics of Scotland, it was delivered to King Ed- 
ward I. in the year 1291. King Edward used it to give 
increased solemnity to the oaths of fealty, which he 
exacted of the magnates of Scotland. 

When the long struggle between England and Scot- 
land was ended in 1328 by the peace of Northampton, 
the Black Rood was restored to Scotland as one of the 
national treasures. 

When the hapless King David II. invaded England 
in 1346, he took the Black Rood with him, in belief 
that it would insure safety to his person, or victory to 
his arms. On his defeat and capture, the Black Rood 
of Scotland became the prize of his conqueror. Lord of 
Raby, and, together with other spoils of the battle, was 
offered up at the Shrine of St. Cuthbert in the Cathe- 
dral of Durham ; and it hung there until the Reforma- 
tion, when all trace of it disappeared. 



266. A KING THAT CAME TO THE THRONE OF FRANCE 
BEARING FIVE COFFINS IN HIS TRAIN. 

Philip III., surnamed "the Hardy," was the son of 
Louis IX. (St. Louis) of France, and succeeded him 
(1270) when only twenty-five years of age. 

He was with his father when the latter died of the 
plague at the siege of Tunis, and was at once pro- 
claimed king. 

He continued the war against the Moors in Africa, 
until, with the assistance of his uncle, Charles of An- 
jou, he had reduced the King of Tunis to submission. 
He then returned to France, bearing in his train five 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS.- 343 

coffins, those of his father, his wife, his son, his brother, 
and his brother-in-law. PhiHp reigned fifteen years, 
and in that time the only important event was what is 
known in history as "The Massacre of the Sicilian 
Vespers." 

Charles of Anjou, brother of St. Louis, had, under 
the sanction of the Pope, conquered Sicily and Naples, 
and taken possession of the crown. His cruelty and 
want of faith excited the hatred of a naturally vindic- 
tive people, until at last, while the citizens of Palermo 
were assembling for vespers on Easter Monday, March 
30, 1282, the infuriated natives rose en masse, and fell, 
sword in hand, upon their unsuspecting oppressors in 
every part of the city, slaughtering them without mercy. 
As the news of the massacre spread, the same tragedy 
was enacted in every part of the island, until at last 
there was scarcely a Frenchman alive in Sicily. The 
Sicilians then offered their crown to Don Pedro of 
Aragon, as being nearest of kin to their old line. He 
soon landed on the island, and was proclaimed King of 
Sicily. The Pope was so enraged at Don Pedro for 
accepting the crown of Sicily, that he declared him 
to have forfeited his own crown, and sent Philip HI. to 
take it from him. 

Soon after the French army advanced into Aragon, 
however, a pestilence broke out ; and the king himself 
took the disease, and died, in the year 1284. Don Pedro 
of Aragon kept the island of Sicily ; but Charles of 
Anjou ruled over Naples until 1435, when Naples passed 
under the dominion of the King of Aragon. 

The kingdom of Naples and Sicily belonged to 
Spain until the war of the Spanish succession (1700- 
171 3), when Sicily was separated from Naples. They 
were both in i860 annexed to Italy. 



344 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

267. OUR MORAL AND PHYSICAL ANTIPODES. 

The Chinese, topographically our antipodes, are as 
opposite to us in manners and customs. 

We stand feet to feet in almost every thing. Our 
night is their day. Our mourning color is black, theirs 
is white. Their boats are drawn by men : their car- 
riages are moved by means of sails. 

Old men fly kites, while little boys look on : with 
them the seat of honor is at the left hand, and to keep 
one's hat on is a sign of respect. We drink tea hot, 
and wine cold : they drink wine hot, and tea cold. In 
China, the family name comes first instead of last ; 
thug, John Smith would be Smith John : and the 
Chinese name of Confucius, Kung-Fu-tsee, means Holy 
Master Kung, Kung being his family name. The nee- 
dle of their compass points to the south, ours to the 
north. They say "west-north " instead of north-west, 
" east-south " instead of south-east. Their soldiers 
wear quilted petticoats, satin boots, and bead necklaces, 
carry umbrellas and fans, and go to a night attack with 
lanterns, being more afraid of the dark than the enemy. 
They mount their horses on the right side. Visiting- 
cards with them are about four feet long, and are 
painted red. The children in school sit with their 
backs to the teacher, and study their lessons aloud. 
Babies in China seldom cry. This may be accounted 
for by the fact that the older children go out to play 
with the babies strapped to their backs. In the opin- 
ion of the Chinese, the seat of the understanding is the 
stomach. A married woman, when young and pretty, 
is a slave : when she is old and withered, she is the 
most respected and beloved member of the family. 
Their most valued piece of furniture is a handsome 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 345 

camphor-wood coffin, which they keep in the best room. 
They are very fond of fireworks, but always display 
them in the daytime. A Chinese soldier will run away 
in time of danger, and then kill himself to avoid pun- 
ishment. 

If you offend a Chinaman, instead of killing you, he 
will kill himself on your doorstep. 



268. THE V^AYSIDE INN. 

"Around the fireside at their ease, 
There sat a group of friends." 

The old Howe Tavern in Sudbury, Mass., has been 
made memorable by Longfellow's beautiful poem, " Tales 
of a Wayside Inn ; " and an added interest is given to 
the poem when we know that this gathering of 
"friends" was not a mere poetical fancy, but a fact, 
and that among the dramatis personcs are many well- 
known characters. 

The first part of the poem was written in 1861, 
just three months before the breaking-out of our civil 
war. 

In the prelude we are introduced to the guests at the 
inn, who in turn beguile the evening hours with an 
interchange of stories. 

" But first the landlord will I trace, 
Grave in his aspect and attire : 
A man of ancient pedigree, 
A justice of the peace was he, 
Known in all Sudbury as the Squire." 

The " landlord " was Squire Lyman Howe; and his 
tale, " Paul Revere's Ride," is the first of the series. 



346 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

" A youth was there of quiet ways, 
A student of old books and days, 
To whom all tongues and lands were known, 
And yet a lover of his own." 

The "student" was Dr. Henry W. Wales of Boston, 
a liberal friend of Harvard College. His tale was 
" The Falcon of Ser Federigo." 

"A young Sicilian, too, was there. 
In sight of yEtna born and bred." 

The " Sicilian " was Professor Luigi Monti, an author 
and a lecturer, and for many years a most intimate 
friend of Longfellow. 

His tale was " King Robert of Sicily." 

" A Spanish Jew from Alicant, 
With aspect grand and grave, was there ; 
Vender of silks and fabrics rare. 
And attar of rose from the Levant." 

The " Spanish Jew," named Edrehi, was evidently 
introduced to give variety to the tales, by bringing in 
thoughts and traditions of an ancient race ; for he was 
not one of the party, though a Jew with whom Long- 
fellow was well acquainted in Boston. 

He adds to the tales, "The Legend of Rabbi Ben 

Levi." 

" A theologian, from the school 
Of Cambridge on the Charles, was there : 
Skilful alike with tongue and pen, 
He preached to all men everywhere 
The gospel of the Golden Rule." 

The "theologian" has been variously assigned, — by 
some to the Rev. Samuel Longfellow, a brother of the 
poet ; by others to Professor Trowbridge : but Professor 
Monti sets all doubts at rest by assuring us, in his 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 347 

lecture on "The Wayside Inn," that the theologian was 
Professor Daniel Tredwell. 

He took as his subject a story of the Inquisition, 
"Torquemada." 

" A poet, too, was there, whose verse 
Was tender, musical, and terse." 

This was Dr. Parsons, known best 'to scholars by his 
•translation of the " Divina Commedia." He was a 
man of genius, but so retiring that he shrank from ap- 
plause, and almost dreaded fame. He gave "The 
Birds of Killingworth." 

" Last the musician, as he stood 
Illumined by that fire of wood ; 
Fair-haired, blue-ej'^ed, his aspect blithe, 
His figure tall and straight and lithe, 
And every feature of his face 
Revealing his Norwegian race ; 
A radiance streaming from within, 
Around his eyes and forehead beamed ; 
The angel with the violin. 
Painted by Raphael, he seemed." 

One has no difficulty in recognizing Ole Bull in this 
description. He was born at Bergen, Norway, Feb. 5, 
1810. 

He visited the United States several times, and gave 
violin recitals with great success. In 1852 he bought a 
large tract of land in Pennsylvania, and there founded- 
a colony, which was called Oleana in his honor ; but it 
was soon given up, and he returned to his profession. 

He died in Norway, Aug. 17, 1880, aged seventy 
years. Ole Bull was not one of the " group of friends," 
but is a very important factor in the poem. In his 
tale, "The Saga of King Olaf," we have some striking 



348 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

specimens of Scandinavian literature, historical, mythic^ 
heroic, and romantic. 

" A strain of music closed the tale, 
A low, monotonous, funeral wail, 
That with its cadence, wild and sweet. 
Made the long Saga more complete. 
Then all arose, and said " Good-night." 

The second series of the tales, although representing- 
"The Second Day " at the inn, was not published until 
1872. The same group of friends in a similar manner 
interchange stories and music. 

A third series appeared in 1873, representing a third 
evening. In this are some of the most beautiful poems 
in the whole collection, and the closing lines are full of 
pathos : — 

" These are the tales those merry guests 
Told to each other, well or ill ; . . . 
These are the tales, or new or old, 
In idle moments idly told : . . . 
And still, reluctant to retire, 
The friends sat talking by the fire. . . . 
But sleep at last the victory won : 
They must be stirring with the sun; 
And drowsily good-night they said, 
And went, still gossiping, to bed. . . . 
Uprose the sun ; and every guest, 
Uprisen, was soon equipped and dressed 
For journeying home and cityward. . . . 
' Farewell ! ' the portly landlord cried : 
' Farewell ! ' the parting guests replied, 
But little thought that nevermore 
Their feet would pass that threshold o'er ; 
That nevermore together there 
Would they assemble, free from care. 
To breathe the wholesome country air." 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 349 

269. THE FARNESE BULL AND THE FARNESE 
HERCULES. 

The name " Farnese " has been bestowed upon sev- 
eral celebrated works of art. 

It was the name of an illustrious family in Italy from 
the middle of the thirteenth century to 1731, when the 
family became extinct. Many of its members filled the 
highest offices of the Church of Rome. 

The Farfiese Palace at Rome, one of the finest in the 
city, was erected by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, after- 
wards Pope Paul III. (1534-49). The antique sculp- 
tures for which it was renowned are now in the museum 
at Naples ; and two at least still bear the name of their 
original owners, — the Farnese Bull and the Farnese 
Hercules. 

I. The Farnese Bull is a colossal work of art consist- 
ing of many figures, executed from a single block of 
marble, by Apollonius and Tauriscus of the Rhodian 
School of Art, which flourished 300 B.C. 

According to Pliny, this group was brought from 
Rhodes to Rome, where it first adorned the library of 
Asinius Pollio, and then the Baths of Caracalla. It 
was discovered among the ruins of the latter in 1546. 
Under Paul III. it was restored by Bianchi, who worked 
according to the direction of Michael Angelo, and was 
placed in the Farnese Palace. 

" The subject of the composition refers to the punishment 
which Zethus and Amphion, the sons of Antiope, destined for 
Dirce, in order to revenge their mother. For Dirce had not only 
tormented Antiope with singular barbarity, but had even ordered 
her two sons, who had grown up unknown as shepherds, to bind 
her to the horns of a wild bull, and let her be dragged to death. 
The murder of their mother was on the point of taking place, 
when the recogfnition between mother and sons was broug-ht about 



350 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

by a fortunate chance. The tables were now turned, and the furi- 
ous sons inflicted on Dirce the punishment which she had devised 
for Antiope. 

" The group represents this moment. According to tradition, the 
scene takes place on the Cithccron, which is indicated by the rocky 
soil and the small figure of a shepherd, who is looking on, and by 
various animals of the chase. Zethus and Amphion, two vigor- 
ous though slender youthful figures, are standing opposite each 
other on a projection of the rock, endeavoring to restrain the 
wildly resisting bull, and fasten the victim to it. Dirce, whose 
beautiful body, only partly concealed by drapery, has fallen help- 
lessly, as if paralyzed with horror, is imploring in vain for pity, 
and clasping the leg of one of the brothers. Inexorably they both 
continue their work, while Antiope is quietly looking on in the 
background. In the next moment the voluptuous beauty of the 
splendid female figure will be forever annihilated. 

"The group has similar excellencies with that of the Laocoon, 
(q.v.), and is perhaps even more artistically and boldly constructed : 
it merits admiration also in a technical point of view as the most 
colossal marble work of antiquity." 

II. The Farnese Hercules was also discovered in the 
Baths of Caracalla, Rome, during the reign of Paul III. ; 
but the legs were missing. 

The Pope's nephew, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, 
employed Michael Angelo to supply them ; but it is 
said that he destroyed his work, saying it was not for 
man to finish the work of gods. 

The legs were afterwards found in a well three miles 
from the place where the statue was discovered. The 
statue is now complete, except its left hand. 

"The Farnese Hercules is the work of an Athenian, Glycon, 
and is a copy of an original of Lysippus. The hero is represented 
as resting from his work; but he is standing erect, and supporting 
himself only with his left shoulder on his club, which is covered 
with the lion's skin. In his right hand, which is resting against 
the back, he is holding the apples of the Hesperidae. 

" The design is extremely grand ; and the figure has something 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 35 I 

of the ideal form of a demi-god, not merely from its colossal size, 
but still more from the powerful structure of the limbs." 

" The lilacid attitude of the Hercules, and benign inclination of 
head, seem to invite adoration, and rather announce the divinity of 
some temple than a mere object of sculpture displaying, as it is 
thought, the muscles of a man just respiring from toil." 



270. THE PRAGMATIC SANCTION. 

The term Pragmatic Sanction signifies a business 
arrangement which is generally acknowledged ; but in 
history it is applied to settlements affecting national 
liberties, or the succession to the throne. 

The Pragmatic Sanction of Charles III. of France, 

1438, defined and limited the power of the Pope in 
France; that of St. Louis, 1268, forbade the Court of 
Rome to levy taxes, or collect subscriptions, in France, 
without the sanction of the king ; that of Germany, 

1439, secured the succession of the empire to the house 
of Austria. 

In 1713 the Emperor Charles VI., having lost his 
son, named his daughter, Maria Theresa, as his heir, 
and published a decree making this appointment, which 
was out of the usual routine, and was therefore known 
as the Pragmatic Sanction; also, in 1759, Charles II. 
of Spain ceded the succession of Naples to his third 
son and his descendants, which is the last recorded 
Prasrmatic Sanction, 



271. THE AFGHANS. 

The Afghan chroniclers call their people Bani-Israel, 
the Arab for children of Israel, and claim descent from 
King Saul, through a son whom they ascribe to him 
called Jeremiah, who again had a son called Afghana. 



352 CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

The numerous stock of Afghana were carried captives 
with other Jews by Nebuchadnezzar. Only nine years 
after Mohammed announced his mission, they heard of 
the new prophet, and sent a deputy to Medina headed 
by a wise man called Kais. The deputies became con- 
verts, and from this time Jewish Afghans became fol- 
lowers of Mohammed. From Kais and his three sonS' 
the whole of the genuine Afghans claim descent. 

Their Hebrew ancestry is credited by intelligent his- 
torians, and the prevailing type of feature is decidedly 
Jewish. 

Afghanistan means the country of the Afghans, the 
name given to this race of people by the Persians. 
Afghanistan in Asia is about twice as large as the State 
of Texas. The mountains are covered by dense forests, 
the home of lions and tigers. The people are a strong, 
brave race, divided into tribes, which are often at war 
with each other. 

In 1838 England declared war against Afghanistan, 
on the ground that they (the Afghans) had attacked 
one of her allies. The war continued until Jan. i, 1842, 
when a capitulation was concluded, by which the Eng- 
lish were to pay a large amount of money, evacuate the 
country, and surrender nearly all of their ammunition 
and artillery. The Afghan chiefs promised them a safe 
conduct out of the land : but, as they marched through 
the mountain passes, they were fired on by the Af 
ghans ; and it is said that only one of the English 
escaped to Jelalabad to tell the tale. 



272. THE "THREE FATES." 

According to Kiigler, the picture in the Pitti Palace,: 
Florence, called the "Three Fates," and ascribed to 
Michael Angelo, was painted by Rosso Fiorentino. 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 353 

The model for the picture is said to have been an old 
•woman, who offered her son to fight for the city when 
Michael Angelo was conducting the defence of Florence, 
in 1529. 

The same figure is represented in three different 
attitudes, and with such difference of expression that 
■only the initiated can recognize the fact of its being 
the same person. In mythology the "Three Fates" 
(or the Moerse) are three sisters, daughters of Night, 
who exercise an influence over the destiny of man, his 
6irth, life, and death. To express this influence, they 
are represented in art as weaving a web. Clotho spins, 
Lachesis holds, and Atropos cuts, the thread of life ; or 
else Clotho holds the distaff, Lachesis draws out the 
thread, and Atropos with large shears is in the act of 
•cutting it off. Such is the representation in the picture 
referred to above ; but the strength of the picture lies 
in the keen, serene, implacable features of the three 
•sisters, who so consciously control the destiny of man. 



273. THE ORIFLAMME. 

The sacred oriflamme of France was a red silk ban- 
ner mounted on a gold staff. ((9r, gold, referring to 
the staff; flamnie, flame, referring to the tongues of 
flame.) The flag was cut into three " Vandykes," to 
represent " tongues of fire ; " and between either was a 
;silken tassel. 

This celebrated standard was originally that borne by 
the abbots of St. Denis, and later by the counts of 
Vezin, patrons of that church. When the country 
•of Vezin fell into the hands of the French crown, under 
Philippe I., 1082, the oriflamme became the principal 
banner of the kingdom. It was first used as a national 



354 " CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 

banner in 1119. In war, the display of this standard 
indicated that no quarter would be given. The English 
standard of no quarter was the " burning dragon." 

" I have not reared the oriflamme of death. 
. . . me it behoves 
To spare the fallen foe." 

The Abbey of St. Denis had the keeping of the 
crown, sceptre, and other ornaments used at the coro- 
nation of the kings of France. St. Denis, the patron 
saint of France, was the first bishop of Paris. He suf- 
fered martyrdom during one of the persecutions of the 
Roman emperors, being beheaded in 272. His body 
was buried near the place of his execution ; and over the 
spot a church was built, which was afterwards united 
with the Abbey of St. Denis. This church contained 
the tombs of most of the French kings; but in 1793,. 
when hatred of royalty was at its height in France, the 
tombs of the kings were opened, and their bodies cast 
into a common grave. 



274. THE OLDEST FAMILY. 

Confucius, the founder of the Confucian religion of 
China, lived 551 to 478 B.C. He was contemporary 
with the Tarquins of Rome, Pythagoras of Greece, and 
Cyrus of Persia. 

His descendants form the aristocracy of China, and 
have always enjoyed high privileges. There are still 
some forty thousand of them, seventy generations re- 
moved from their ancestor ; this being the oldest fam- 
ily in the world, unless we consider the Jews a single 
family descended from Abraham, 

There are sixteen hundred and sixty temples erected 



CURIOUS QUESTIONS. 355 

to the memory of Confucius, or Kung-Fu-tsee, in China, 
the largest one covering ten acres of land. 

He is the patron saint of that vast empire ; and the 
doctrine he promulgated forms the state religion of 
the nation, sustained by the whole power of the emperor 
and the literary body. 

Yet it is a religion without priests or liturgy. Moral- 
ity and reverence are its chief characteristics. 

" Worship as though the Deity were present." " If 
my mind is not engaged in my worship, it is as though 
I worshipped not." " Faithfulness and sincerity are the 
highest things." Reverence for parents, or the aged, 
was as imperative in his teaching as reverence for the 
Deity ; and the Golden Rule in its negative form is 
found in his writings, — " Do not unto others what you 
would not have them do unto you." 

The religion of Confucius is an ethnic religion, or 
one confined within the boundaries of a particular race 
or family of mankind. It belongs to China and the 
Chinese. It has been their state religion for some 
twenty-three hundred years, and it rules the opinions 
of three hundred millions of men. But, out of China, 
Confucius is only a name. 

There are two other forms of religion in China, — 
Taoism, and Buddhism in its Chinese form. 



275. THE RING IN THE MARRIAGE CEREMONY. 

The use of the ring as a pledge is of very ancient 
date. "And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set 
thee over all the land of Egypt. 

" And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and 
put it upon Joseph's hand." (Gen. xli. 41, 42.) 

Clemens tells us its use in the marriage service be 



356 CURIOUS "QUESTIONS. 

gan in Egypt, and then, as now, signified a transfer of 
property. " With all my worldly goods I thee endow." 
The marriage-ring gave to an Egyptian woman the 
power to issue commands in the name of her husband, 
and made her in every way his representative. 

Among the Anglo-Saxons, the bridegroom gave a 
pledge, or "wed" (a term from which we derive the 
word wedding), at the betrothal ceremony. This wed 
consisted, among other things, of a ring, which was 
placed on the maiden's right hand, and remained there 
until transferred at the marriage ceremony to the left 
hand. At this ceremony the bridegroom put the ring 
first on the end of the thumb, then on the first, and 
then on the second finger, naming the Trinity ; and 
lastly placed it on the third or marriage finger, to sig- 
nify that next to God her duty was to her husband. 
Our marriage ceremony is very nearly the same as that 
used by our forefathers, a few obsolete words being 
changed. 

The ring by its form is a symbol of eternity, and in 
the marriage ceremony is a pledge before God of the 
intention of both parties to keep forever the solemn 
covenant into which they have entered. Wedding- 
presents, of various descriptions, have been customary 
from remote times. 



INDEX. 



PAGE 

Abandonment of Sun- 
day 285 

Adrian IV 57 

^neid 332 

Aerolites 328 

.^schilles 63 

Afghans 351 

Agassiz, L. J. R 159 

Agra 98 

Aix-la-Chapelle 194 

Akbar 24 

Albion, Perfidious .... 308 

Alchemy, End of 203 

Alaric 145 

Alexander 1 71 

Amazons . . 187 

Amber. 19 

American Pseudonymes . . 294 

Ancceus 112 

Ancient Basilicas 224 

Angelo, Michael 37, iii, 125, 156, 
178, 220, 353 

Archimedes 199 

Art, Oldest 277 

Art of Arts 69 

Arundelian Marbles . . . . 151 

Assassins , 97 

Astrologer, Last 321 

Atahualpa 46 

Attila 145 



Authors Famous for One 

Work 

Autocrat of the Russias 
Aztecs 



of 



Baber 

Bajazet 

Bambino, II ... . 
Barbarossa, Frederick 
Barberini Vase . . . 
Basilicas, Ancient . . 
Battle of Nations . . 
Battle of the Books . 
Battle won after Death 
Bayeux Tapestry . . 
Berkshire, White Horse 
Bias of Prienne 
Black Rood of Scotland 
Blenheim Madonna 
Blind Man's Answer 
Bluebeard, Original 
Bone Luz .... 
Bonnivard, Fran9ois 
Book, Most Curious 
Borgia, Lucrezia . 
Bravest Man in England 
Brazen Serpent of Moses 
British Museum . 57, 9 
Brother Jonathan . . . 
Buccaneei's 



99i 



36s 



319 

114 

16 

24 

41 
163 

58 
182 
224 

71 
143 

30 

35 
279 

173 

341 

74 

69 

24s 

242 

3 
81 

22 C 

313 

182 

79 

53 



366 



INDEX. 



Ser 



Buddhistic Monuments 
Bunyan, John . . . 
Buonarroti Papers 
Burgh Mousa . ... 
Burial, Secret . . . 
Burial-Place of Columbus 

CaIUS Cestius . . 
Cambray, Peace of . 
Camoens, Luiz de . . 
Canterbury Tales . . 
Caroline of Brunswick 

Carroccio 

Carstens, Asmus Jacob 
Casting a Shoe after a Bride 
Cathedral of St. Isaac 
Catholic and Protestant 

vices . . . , 
Caves, Ellora . . 
Central- Park Obelisk 
Ceramic Art . . . 
Cervantes ... 
Chair of Idris . . 
Charlemagne . , 
Charles I. ... 
Charles II. . . . 
Chassanee . . . 
Chaucer, Geoffrey. 
Chillon, Prisoner of 
Chilon of Lacedaemon 

China 

China, Tae Ping Rebellion 
China, Great Wall of 
China, First Account of 
Chi-hoang-ti .... 
Chloroform .... 
Choragic Monuments 
Christ, Likenesses of 
Chronic Grumbler 
Chronicle of the Cid 
Cid Campeador 
Cid, Poem of . . 
Citizen King . , 



PAGE 

"5 

340 
220 

147 
145 
329 

221 
318 

128 
212 
190 

lOI 

209 

15 

327 

66 

317 
240 

277 
72 

38 

52,61 

42 

70 

140 

213 

3 

173 

344 

7 

83 

136 

83 
266 
172 

26 
100 
230 

30 
229 

142 



PAGE 

City of Violated Treaty . . 211 

Classic Literature 162 

Cleobulus of Lyndus . . . 173 

Cleopatra ... ... 132 

Cleopatra's Nose 108 

Clepsydra 258 

Clerks of the Revels . . . 153 

Clock, Strasbourg .... 38 

Cohort of Death loi 

Cohort of Three Hundred . . loi 

Collingborne, Sir William . . 84 

Colosseum of Rome .... 312 

Columbus 329 

Conqueror killed by a Woman, 157 
Conversion of Light into 

Sound 179 

Cossacks 75 

Costliest Picture 74 

Crescent 221 

Crispin, St 15 

Crispinian 15 

Croesus 303 

Cromwell, Oliver 70 

Culloden Moor, Battle of . . 37 

Curious Book 105 

Curtain is the Picture • . . 135 

Cynics 148 

Cyrus the Great 158 

Dante 63, 287 

Death, Key of 107 

Death- Warrant of Jesus . . 17 

Deities of London .... 232 

Diamonds, Six Famous ... 48 

Diaz, Roderigo 30 

Diogenes' Tub 148 

Document, Important Legal . 17 

Domenichino 65 

Donizetti 82 

Don Quixote 72 

Doves, Pliny's 18 

Dream of Fair Women . .133, 236 

Dying Words of Gregory VII. 243 



INDEX. 



367 



PAGE 

Early Madonnas .... 295 

Earth 91 

Edict of Nantes 134 

Effect of Franco-Prussian War, 339 

Egypt 132 

Egypt, River Nile in ... . 28 

Eighth Wonder of the World 159 

Eikon Basilike 42 

Eikonoklastes 43 

Elgin Marbles 91 

Ellora Caves 317 

Endor, Witch of 252 

England, Bravest Man in . . 225 

England, Heraldry in . . . 265 

English Pope 57 

Enid 38 

Ephesus, Seven Sleepers of . 85 

Epic Poem of Spain .... 229 

Eras, B.C. and A.D 186 

Escurial 159 

Essay on Criticism .... 263 

Euclid 136 

Eugubine Tables 316 

Eureka 199 

Faerie Queene .... 268 

Farnese Bull 349 

Farnese Hercules 349 

Farnese Palace 125 

Fasti Capitolini 322 

Fates, Three 352 

Feather in One's Cap ... 57 

Felton, C. C 159 

Fenelon, Francois .... 208 

Fenian Oath 103 

Fernando de Soto .... 146 

Fire, Greek 40 

First Great Picture .... 6 

Foster, Elizabeth 195 

Foundation of Venice . . . 293 

Founder of Mormonism . . 226 

France, Iliad of 93 

Franco-Prussian War . . . 339 



PAGE 

Frederick Barbarossa ... 58 

French Revolution .... 285 

Genre Pictures .... 202 

George 1 261 

Germantown 118 

German Iliad 191 

Gettysburg, Battle of . . . 94 

Ghibellines 59, 161 

Ghiberti, Lorenzo .... no 

Gladiators, Last of ... . 174 

Godfrey de Bouillon .... 200 

God save the King .... 274 

Goethe 146 

Gog and Magog 232 

Golden Cave 151 

Golden Rose 292 

Golden Temple of Umritseer, 59 

Gondoliers of Venice . . . 304 

Goose, Mother 195 

Granite Columns of St. Mark's, 86 

Gratz, Rebecca 34 

Great Bed of Ware .... 302 
Great Britain, Last Battle in . 37 
Greatest Name in German Lit- 
erature 146 

Great Mogul 24 

Greece, Seven Wise Men of . 173 

Greek Fire 40 

Greeks, Trio of 209 

Gregory, Pope 243 

Guelphs 59, 161 

Half-told Tale . . . 212 

Hakim Ben Allah 47 

Harleian Collection .... 99 

Harley, Robert 99 

Plassan Ben Sabbal .... 97 

Hassan 167 

Hatfield, John 60 

Haydon 23 

Heart of Mid-Lothian . . . 109 

Heidelberg 66 



368 



INDEX. 



PAGE 

Helmichis 20 

Heraldry in England .... 265 

Herculaneum 108 

Herodotus 157 

Highest Monument .... 247 

Hindoo Sacred Books . . . 326 

Hohenstaufens 150 

Hohenzollerns 211 

Homer 62, 167 

Houdon 261 

Huayna Capac 46 

Hugo, Victor 62, 281 

Huguenot exempted from 

Massacre 77 

Huguenots 134 

Hungsewtseuen 8 

Hypatia 196 

ICONOCLASTES .... 43 

Idris, Chair of 38 

Ignatius de Loyola .... 88 

II Bambino 163 

Iliad of France 93 

Iliad, Homer's 167 

II Trovatore 223 

Image of Nabis 318 

Incas, Last of 45 

India 115 

Inez de Castro i, 129 

Inferno 2S7 

Ink, River of 337 

Insignia of Napoleon . . . 139 

Instant before the Battle . . 178 

Inundation of the Nile ... 28 

Invention, Most Important . 310 

Irving, Washington .... 34 

Isaiah 63 

Island of Seven Cities . . . 188 

" Ivanhoe," Rebecca of . . . 34 

Ivan the Terrible 112 

Jacob's Pillow 104 

Jamaica H? 



PAGE 

Janizaries 165 

Jeanie Deans 109 

Jerome, St 66 

Jerusalem, King of ... . 200 

Jerusalem, Temple of ... 168 

Jesuits 88 

Jesus, Death- Warrant of . . 17 

Jew, Wandering 298 

Johnson, Dr. Samuel . . . 155 

Jonathan, Brother .... 79 

Jousts and Tournaments . . 164 

Julian the Apostate .... 168 

Julius Csesar 132 

Junius, Letters of 55 

Juvenal 63 

KaLIDASA 138 

Kaliphs, Last of 267 

Keats, John 21 

Kellerman, Gen 121 

Keystone State 169 

Key of Death 107 

Khorassan, Veiled Prophet of, 47 

King bearing Five Coffins . . 342 
King, first, second, third, and 

fourth of his name . . . 153 

King and Queen elected . . 80 
King who could not speak his 

Nation's Language . . . . 261 

King of the French .... 142 

King exhibited in Cage ... .41 

Kit-Cat Pictures 188 

Koran 114 

Kremlin 130 

LADIES' Peace 318 

Laocoon 214 

La Pieta 156 

Largest Statue 231 

Last of Kaliphs 267 

Last Communion of St. Je- 
rome 65 

Last of Romans 274 



INDEX. 



369 



PAGE 

Last Judgment 143 

Last Astrologer 321 

Last of Gladiators .... 174 

"LaTraviata" 176 

Laura's Lover 89 

Legal Document, Important . 17 

Letters of Junius 55 

Lia Fail ........ 103 

Liberty enlightening the World, 23 1 

Lifting the Hat 44 

Light into Sound ..... 179 

Likenesses of Christ .... 26 

Lilly, William 322 

Limerick 211 

Literary Oracle 155 

Livermore, Harriet .... 255 
Literature, Classic and Roman- 
tic 162 

Lohengrin 123 

Lollards 222 

Lombard Republic .... loi 

London, Deities of ... . 232 

Longfellow IS9. 345 

Louis Philippe 142 

Loyola, Ignatius de . . . . 88 

Lucerne, Lion of 21 

Lucrezia Borgia 81 

Lusiad 128 

Lytton, Sir E. B 274 

Maccabees 217 

Machiavelli, Nicolo .... 189 

Madonna di San Sisto ... 14 

Madonnas, Early 295 

Mahabharata .... 138, 326 

Make Room for Raphael . . 14 

Mamelukes 103 

Man exhibited in Cage . . .41 

Manufactured Stones . . . 145 

Man who stood on Pillar . . 84 

Marbles, Elgin 91 

Marco Polo 136 

Marian Games 126 



PAGE 

Maroons 117 

Martyrdom of St. Agnes . . 143 

Martyrdom of St. Peter . . io6 

Mary's Lamb . . . . . . 116 

Mary and William .... 80 

Massagetas 157 

Mastassem 268 

Masterpieces of Michael An- 

gelo 178 

Mazeppa 76 

Mechanician, Celebrated . . 199 

Medici, Catherine de ... 79 

Memnon, Vocal 283 

Mentone Man 75 

Merchants, Guild of .... no 

Meteoric Stones 328 

Mexico 16 

Milton 43, 212 

Miracle-Plays 25 

Mogul, Great 24 

Mohammed 114 

Momus 100 

Mona Lisa . , 56 

Montenegro ....... 196 

Monument, Highest .... 247 

Moore, Thomas 181 

More, Sir Thomas 181 

Moors 30, 297 

Moral Antipodes 344 

Mormonism 226 

Moscow, City of 131 

Moscow Cathedral .... 119 

Moses 179 

Moses, Brazen Serpent of . . 313 

Mother Goose 195 ' 

Mound-Builders 233 

Mousa, Tower of . '. . . . 147 

Mountain, Old Man of . . . 97 

NaBIS, Image of .... 318 

Napoleon's Bees 139 

Napoleon 71, 308 

Nantes, Edict of 134 



370 



INDEX. 



Nation which used Wooden 

Swords 16 

Neck- Verse 126 

New and Old Time .... 250 

Nibelungenlied 191 

Nile, Inundation of ... . 28 

No Royal Road to Learning . 136 
Nucleus of the Resurrection 

Body 242 

Obelisk in Central Park . 240 

Oberammergau 25 

Object of Don Quixote ... 72 

Ocnus, Rope of 44 

Odenatus 170 

Odyssey 167 

CEdipus 121 

Old Man of the Mountain . . 97 

Old and New Time .... 250 

Oldest Art 277 

Oldest Family 353 

Oldest Statue 271 

Oracle, the Literary . . . . 155 

Oratorio 197 

Oriflamme 353 

Origin of Surnames . . . . 314 

Origin of Thimbles .... 296 

Original Bluebeard .... 245 

Origin of lifting the Hat . . 44 

Orlando Furioso 51 

Oxford Marbles 151 

Oxford Museum 157 

PaLISSY, Bernard ... 77 

Paradise, Gates of .... no 

Parliament, Curious Customs, 7 

Parrhasius 135 

Pascal 131 

Pasquinades 96 

Passion Play 25 

Pastorius, Francis Daniel . . 118 

Pedro, Don i 

Penelope's Web 307 



PAGE 

Pennsylvania, Keystone State, 169 

Pennsylvania Pilgrim . . . iiS 

Perfection no Trifle .... 37 

Perfidious Albion 308 

Periander of Corinth . . . 173 

Peruvians 45 

Petrarch 89 

Philip of Macedon .... 221 

Philip III 342 

Philippoteaux, Paul .... 94 

Photophone 179 

Physical Antipodes .... 344 

Pilgrim's Progress .... 340 

Pillar Saints 84 

Pin-Money 87 

Pittacus of Mitylene . . . . 173 

Pitt, William 102 

Pizarro 46 

Pliny's Doves 18 

Poet whose Name was writ in 

Water 21 

Polygnotus 44 

Pompeii 107 

Pompey's Pillar 335 

Pope, Alexander 263 

Pope, an English 57 

Pope Gregory VII 243 

Portugal I, 129 

Portland Vase 182 

Pragmatic Sanction .... 351 

Pottery 277 

Presentation of the Virgin . . 143 

Price, James 203 

Prophets and Sibyls .... 301 

Psyche 323 

Pun that cost a Life .... 84 

Pyramid of Caius Cestius . . 221 

Queen crowned after 

Death i 

Queen who drank from a Cup 

made of a Skull .... 20 

Queen of the East . . . . 171 



INDEX. 



17^ 



PAGE 

Queen who died of a Broken 

Heart 190 

Queen who Married her Broth- 
ers 132 

RaMAYANA . . . 138, 326 

Raphael 6, 14, 125 

Rats, Trial of 140 

Rebecca of " Ivanhoe "... 34 

Reign of Terror 273 

Revels, Clerks of 1 53 

Rienzi , 274 

Ring in Marriage Service . . 355 

River of Ink 336 

Robbing Peter to pay Paul . 102 

Rock of Refuge 292 

Roderigo Diaz 30 

Roland and Oliver .... 51 

Roman Sculpture 320 

Romans, Last of 274 

Romance of the Rose ... 93 

Romantic Literature .... 162 

Rome, Colosseum of . . . . 312 

Rope of Ocnus 44 

Rosamond 20 

Rose, Golden 292 

Rubens 305 

Rurik 114 

Ruskin, John ...... 68 

Russia, Czar of 112 

Sabbath, or Sunday . . 324 

Sacred Books 201 

Sacred Books of the Hindoos, 326 

Sacro Catino 320 

"Sakuntala" 138 

Sanskrit Literature . . . . 172 

St. Bruno, Statue of ... . 261 

St. Mark's Columns .... 86 

St. Paul 221 

St. Paul's Cathedral .... 102 

St. Peter's Cathedral . . . 102 

Schinkel, Carl F 210 



PAGE 

Scone 104 

Scott, Sir Walter .... 34, 109 

Sculpture, Roman 320 

Second Great Picture ... 65 

Seven Lamps of Architecture, 68 

Seven Sleepers of Ephesus . 85 

Seven Wise Men of Greece . 173 

Shah Jehan 98 

Shakspeare 64 

Silence, Towers of .... 161 

Simeon the Stylite .... 84 

Sistine Chapel 301 

Six Famous Diamonds ... 48 

Slip 'twixt Cup and Lip . . . 112 

Smith, Joseph 226 

"Snowbound" 253 

Solon of Athens 173 

Songs of Gondoliers .... 304 

Southey, Robert 230 

Spain, Epic Poem of ... . 229 

Sphinx Riddle 120 

Spies of the Czar 75 

Spencer 212 

Spenser, Edmund . . . . . 268 
Stanhope, Lady Hester . 255, 256 

Strasbourg Clock 38 

Statue, Oldest 271 

Statue, Largest 231 

Stone of Destiny 104 

Suez Canal 145 

Sumner, Charles 159 

Sunday, Abandonment of . . 285 

Sunday Stone 157 

Surnames 314 

Swift, Dean ....... 143 

Swiss Guards 22 

Tables, Eugubine . . . 316 

Tae Ping Rebellion .... 7 

Taj Mahal 98 

Tales of a Wayside Inn . . 345 

Tamerlane 41 

Tapestry, Bayeux 35 



372 



INDEX. 



PAGE 

Tara's Hall i8o 

Telemachus 175 

Telemaque 208 

Telling the Bees 77 

Temple of Jerusalem , . . 168 

Temple, Sir William . . . 143 

Tenebrae 284 

Tennyson ... 38, 133, 236, 281 

*' Tent on the Beach "... 9 

Thales of Miletus .... 173 

" Three Friends of Mine " . . 159 

Theodoric 20 

Thimbles 296 

Third Great Picture .... 106 

Thirteen a Lucky Number . 60 

Thorwaldsen 22, 209 

Tibaldo 107 

Tien-wang 8 

Time, Old and New .... 250 

Tintoretto 143 

Titian . 106 

Toltecs . 16 

Tomyris 158 

Tom Thumb 23 

Tomb of Charlemagne ... 61 

Topes 115 

Tories 154 

Tournaments and Jousts . . 164 

Tower of the Winds . . . 173 

Towers of Silence .... 161 

Transfiguration 6 

Trappists 261 

Trial of Rats 140 

*' Trifles make Perfection ". . 37 

Tripoli 325 

Trio of Modern Greeks . . 209 

Trumbull, Jonathan .... 79 

Turkey's Unsubdued Province 196 

UmRITSEER, Golden Tem- 
ple of 59 

Utopian Schemes 181 

Ulysses 307 



PAGE 

Valerian 208 

Valmy, Battle of 122 

Vasari 14 

Vasco de Gama 128 

Vatican 193 

Vatican, Jewel of 6 

Vedas 172, 326 

Venice ... 86, no, 126, 293, 304 

Verdi, Guiseppe 224 

Vespasian 312 

Victories of Reign of Terror . 272 

Victory of United-States Flag, 325 

Victoria, Queen 155 

Virgil 332 

Vocal Memnon 283 

Wagner, Richard ... 123 

Wandering Jew 298 

Ware, Great Bed of ... . 302 
Warrior who led Troops after 

Death 30 

Washington Monument . . . 247 

Wax Figures 96 

Wayside Inn 345 

Wedgwood 184 

Westminster Abbey ... 96, 102 

Whigs 154 

White Horse of Berkshire . 279 

Whittier, John G. . 9, 77, 118, 253 

Wickliffe, John 222 

Wilberforce, William . . . 154 

Windfall 216 

Wilhelmina ....... 92 

William I., II., III., IV. . . 153 

William and Mary .... So 

Witch of Endor 252 

Woman who assumed to be 

the Holy Ghost 92 

Women engaged in War . . 7 
Women of Weinsburg ... 67 
Wooden Swords used in Bat- 
tle 16 

Woolsack in Parliament . . 7 



INDEX. 



373 



Work of Art with Guardian . 182 
Worship of the Golden Calf . 143 

Young, Britrham .... 228 



Zenobia . , . 

Zeuxis ..... 
Zisca, John . . . 



PACK 
170 

280 



BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY 



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